26 January 2021

A team of volunteers is helping patients being cared for at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals receive essential supplies from home.

Picture of response volunteers at PRH

Response volunteers at PRH

No visitors (except in exceptional circumstances) are currently allowed to visit inpatients at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it is important that patients are still able to receive their essential items and belongings from home whilst they are in hospital.

A team of ‘response volunteers’ are now manning desks at both hospitals seven-days-a-week in order to receive essential items from people with loved ones in hospital, and then deliver them to the wards.

Ruth Smith, Head of Patient Experience at SaTH, which runs both RSH and PRH, said that the system would work both ways – with people also able to pick up washing and items that were no longer required by their loved one in hospital.

She said: “It is so important that our patients are able to have familiar items from home such as clean nightwear, toiletries, magazines and books to read – and having no visiting has made this difficult. Having access to a mobile phone and charger is also really helpful to support patients keeping in touch with people important to them whilst in hospital.

“Our staff have been helping relatives get items to their loved ones – but we realised that we needed to have a more efficient, seven-days-a-week service and our volunteers are enabling this to happen.

“We are really grateful to our fantastic team of volunteers for their help, this will make a real difference to our patients whilst they are in hospital, and their families.”

If you wish to drop off essential items for a loved one in hospital at RSH or PRH, please follow the guidance:

• Only one bag of essential belongings can be dropped off (there is limited space so this is restricted to one carrier bag size). The bag must be wipeable and not fabric
• The bag can be dropped off inside the Ward block entrance at RSH and inside the Main Entrance of the PRH
• The bag must be clearly labelled with the patient’s name, date of birth and ward location – along with the name and telephone number of the person dropping the bag off
• People will need to bring ID with them to show at the reception desk when they drop off or pick up belongings
• Only one person can drop the patient’s belongings off – they will need to sanitise their hands and wear a face mask provided by the hospital, and maintain social distancing
• Drop-off times are restricted to 9am-4pm seven days a week (excluding bank holidays)
• Mobile phones can be transported but they must be in a sealable plastic bag and labelled with patient’s name, date of birth and ward location along with the name of the person dropping the bag off

Relatives and friends of patients can also send a message to their loved one in hospital.

Ruth said: “We are acutely aware of the pain of separation during this pandemic so to try and ease this we have introduced ‘Send a message to a loved one’ scheme.

“We know how much messages from family and friends mean to our patients and how much they brighten up their day. To send a message, all you need to do is fill in our online form – complete with a photo if you wish – and we will make sure that this is delivered.”

Visit: https://www.sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient/ to send a message.