Kissing it Better launches in Hertfordshire
Having spent a frantic few weeks in July making useful contacts with Schools and Colleges in East Herts, September finally arrived, the new term started, and we were able to launch our project at The Lister Hospital, Stevenage.
The hospital is currently undergoing huge refurbishment, and to compliment that the Director of Nursing has commissioned Kissing it Better to work with the hospital staff, making links with groups in the community, and arranging for them to come in and lift the atmosphere and energy on the wards. This project relies on volunteers - not just the talented groups that come to the hospital, but the volunteers that "host" them whilst they are there.
We kicked off our project with a wonderful singer who sang a wide range of songs to patients, relatives and staff on Barley Ward, 5A and 6A - which was quite a marathon! (She has generously offered two more dates to come and sing before Christmas).
Since then we have made very positive links with North Herts College - their Head of Beauty Therapy is an enthusiastic supporter of Kissing it Better - and has timetabled a group of students to come to The Lister every week to give hand and arm massages, and manicures to patients (and sometimes to staff who are on a break - which is very well received!). We are planning a Halloween facepainting session at the end of October on the children's wards - which the students are very excited about. More themed sessions will be happening throughout the year.
Stevenage Community Choir have been hugely supportive and generous with their time - they have sung twice in the main reception and last week the A&E department were treated to a concert for half an hour during the evening. The staff enjoyed it so much they called for an encore!
Last night (16.10.12) I was very pleased to welcome our first pack of Brownies from Bengeo to the hospital. They are working towards achieving their Dignity Badge - Kissing it Better organised for Philippa Davies, Deputy Director of Nursing, to give them a short talk about what dignity means to a nurse in hospital - and gave the children an opportunity to ask questions about the hospital, and how it works. They sang camp fire songs on each bay of Barley Ward - igniting all sorts of wonderful memories for many elderly patients, and then they gave out book marks and cup mats that they had made using pressed daisies. They left the ward singing and waving - it really was a wonderful event!
We are also pleased to be working with two local volunteers via the Pets for Therapy charity - who are bringing their dogs to visit patients, and make people smile.
Its amazing how the community comes together when it is given the chance. This project relies on volunteers - not just the talented groups that come to the hospital, but the volunteers that "host" them whilst they are there. I am hugely grateful to the Volunteers Manager at The Lister, and her team, as without their support it would be impossible to move this project forward.
Watch this space for more exciting events happening in East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.