A Nottingham nurse has been shortlisted for a HelpForce Champions national award, for supporting the work of health volunteers at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).
Liz Charalambous, a staff nurse on ward B48 (Health Care of Older Persons), has encouraged volunteers to get involved in the Prevention Of Delirium research project (POD) at the Queen’s Medical Centre.
The work by Liz and clinicians on HCOP wards trains volunteers to spot signs of delirium in elderly patients. Since implementing the project, this combined approach between staff and trained volunteers, has driven huge improvements in delirium prevention, contributing to a reduced rate of falls on two HCOP wards at QMC. This study has resulted in NUH ranking in the top two of the hospitals who participated in the nationwide study, generating further funding to help implement changes on other wards.
Kerry Harper, Head of Voluntary Services, nominated Liz in the ‘Outstanding Staff Champion of Volunteers’ category. Kerry said: “Liz is truly an outstanding and inspiring individual, who understands the importance of volunteers and their worth. With the success of the Prevention of Delirium project, she is helping us to explore further idea for volunteers to become involved with such as EndPJParalysis and Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP).”
Liz, who has been a nurse for 35 years, said: “I was really surprised to be nominated, let alone shortlisted for this award. You just don’t expect it! Having more volunteers trained to be able to help on wards is going to contribute to the experience of older patients, particularly those with dementia. The volunteers at NUH are a fantastic team and we are lucky to have them.”
Liz is currently studying for her PhD, thanks to funding by the Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Her final thesis explores how volunteers can support patients with dementia and memory loss.
She added: “It is so refreshing to work with volunteers who come in to the hospital every day and who have different motivations. It is extremely heart-warming and shows what real human nature is, to get up each day and want to make a difference as a volunteer. Kerry and his team are so supportive and go the extra mile, their hard work and personal approach is very much appreciated by volunteers and staff.”
Winners will be announced at the HelpForce Champions award ceremony in London on Thursday 8 November.