Volunteer praised for her support to a patient

A volunteer at a local health care Trust has been praised for providing extraordinary support to an elderly patient.

Alice Pearce, 32, from Hartlepool, has been volunteering at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteering two-days a week on Ward 36 at the University Hospital of North Tees, Alice supports the staff at meal times, responds to patients’ buzzers for help and spends time talking to the patients and taking their minds off their illnesses.

One such patient was 74-year-old Jill Monaghan from Hartlepool.

A nasty fall led to Jill being admitted to hospital with a head wound.

Throughout her two-week stay at North Tees, Jill was diagnosed with low sodium levels and low blood pressure which led to her fall.

While on the ward, Jill only had the most basic items such as a toothbrush so Alice came to Jill’s aid in a variety of ways.

First she tracked down a mobile phone, donated by Virgin Media to Helpforce and in turn provided to the Trust. Alice entered the number for Jill’s son, who was not allowed to visit the hospital during the pandemic, so they could catch up and be updated on her progress.

But the biggest help was when Alice, in her own time, went to Jill’s home to collect her glasses and some clothes.

Jill said: “I think Alice is marvellous.

“She spent so much talking to me and the other patients and took a real interest in our lives.

“I mentioned I didn’t have my glasses one day and Alice arranged with my son to go to my house and pick them up. I thought she’d drop them off the time she was on the ward, but she came straight back that evening! It was so kind.

“Alice even used her own money to buy puzzle books and brought in books from home. She’s just marvellous.”

Modest to a fault, Alice said: “Getting Jill’s glasses and clothes was no bother really. I took the hospital shuttle to Hartlepool and my partner Jamie drove me back. We’re here to help and it made Jill’s stay easier when she could read in comfort.”

Paul Wharton, Volunteer Co-Ordinator, said: “Volunteers like Alice are worth their weight in gold. She’s brilliant.

“She went above and beyond to help Jill. No one expects volunteers to go out of their way like that.

“It’s Volunteers’ Week and we’re celebrating our volunteers. Alice is definitely an inspiration to us all.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, is appealing for new volunteers.

Asked about why she volunteers, Alice commented: “I wanted to give something back to the NHS. Being a volunteer is so rewarding.”

Volunteers’ Week runs from Monday 2 – Sunday 7 June 2020.

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