Voluntary Work

Just before I went on holiday holiday, I did 2 sessions in Portland Ward, at Poole Hospital. (This is the Brain Rehab ward)

My job is just to talk with patients, and help them, in the Community Room in the Ward. (For those of you that don't know, the whole Ward is almost like a house, with rooms for beds, therapy,  and a Community room with a kitchette)

In the first session, I just chatted away at the 2 atttending patients, one of who was going home the same day! I did not get any reaction from them, but did not expect them to trust me yet!

The following week, the beginning of March, was a Spring Session, and the patients had to make paper flowers. 

The same chap from the previous week was there, and I asked him if I could help him. He grunted and shook his head, for 'no'. I watched him try to put the straw through the paper, and due to lack of coordination, he was really battling!

I quietly asked him if I could hold the straw with one hand and he grunted 'yes', then after a couple of minutes, as he as still battling, I asked him if I could hold the other end of the straw with my other hand. Again, he grunted 'yes'. He got the crepe paper through the straw, and I helped hi scrunch it, and then said, 'look at the lovely flower you have just made'  

We worked together for 45 minutes, and made 7 flowers. I asked him if his mum was visiting him that weekend, to which he nodded, and I told him he now had a bouquet of flowers to give to his mum for Mothers Day. I told him that she was going to be so proud of him for making all the flowers!

Just before he went back to his room, I told him I was going on holiday, and I would not be around for 4 weeks, but would be returning!

He then looked at me, and SMILED!   I nearly cried, I was so happy 

When he had gone, the Occupational Therapist told me that I had done very well to get the reaction I had got, because that chap was extremely difficult to communicate with  

That is what I'm trying to achieve. Some happiness and hope! If I can succeed with one person out of every fifty, I will be happy, cause I know it's not going to be easy!

Sorry, I've gone on a bit long!

Cheers! Xx

13 Replies

  • Debs this is such a worthwhile thing that you are doing and you have clearly approached it with such compassion and understanding.  You supported his independence to carry out his task, without him feeling undermined or treated as if he could no longer do anything.  Your own bi and rehabilitation gave you that comprehension that he needed to undertake the challenge for his own self esteem and any assistance needed to be agreed and given the OK by himself and not someone taking over.  I am sure you will do brilliant and be an excellant volunteer.  I wish there was somewhere like that here where I could do likewise but we have no bi rehab centre in our hospital or nearby. This is so good for you too.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Very best wishes

    Caroline x

  • Thanks for your kind words! Xx

  • Hi, that's so wonderful,

    It's something I've been wondering if I could do. Some days I think yes, then I get cold feet, because I feel like I've still a way to go, but then I'd like to give something back.

    Maybe I'll contact the hospital I was in and see if there's somewhere I could assist. I know the nurses are stretched and can't always give the individual attention that's sometimes needed.

    Janet x

  • That's good. I think the more of us that help out with BI, the better!


  • nutkin you werent just anything......we understand the frustrations of a bi and are better placed to assist others in a similar situation.....without sounding patronising , you should be really proud of yourself.


  • Thanks so much! X

  • youre welcome

  • There's a definite need for such support.  In my 4 bed rehab ward I ended up being the only mobile patient as the other three ladies were still bedridden.

    I spend a good part of my final weeks learning to walk so it was also good therapy for me to fetch and carry for the others when the nursing staff were otherwise occupied. 

    It's so rewarding helping others ; I did voluntary work years ago assisting offenders and their families, and ended up working in Probation full time.  It was the most rewarding time of my life and only ended when my health let me down.

    I'm glad you're feeling rewarded by these visits Debs ; I always think that more folk would opt for voluntary work if they knew how good it can make you feel.


  • Thanks so much! Xx

  • Okay, so I got wet eyes at the 'smiled at me' part in your post !

    You sound perfect for the role and demonstrate what a difference you can make to someone. Well  done ! : ) x

  • Thank you! Xx

  • So good. Rock on Nutkin you must have felt so good xx

  • Thanks! Yes, I did! Xx

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