A new team of healthcare staff and volunteers are supplying items to patients in Fife’s hospitals, who would not otherwise have access to toiletries and other home comforts.
Visiting across Fife’s hospitals was suspended on March 24 to limit the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable patients.
The suspension remains in the majority of areas, with a small number of exceptions such as neonatal, maternity and children’s wards, or where a patient is receiving end of life care.
Thanks to a recent donation of £500,000 from an anonymous donor, additional items for patients have been bought, such as toiletries, mobile phones chargers, underwear, pyjamas and reading glasses.
The initiative is being led by Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, Helen Skinner.
She said: “We recognise the importance of making a person’s stay in hospital as comfortable as it can be in terms of their experience and outcome – that is the case at any time but is particularly pertinent in the current circumstances.”
Two distribution hubs have been established at Hayfield House in Kirkcaldy and Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, run by staff redeployed from other areas of non-urgent care.
While routine volunteering has been suspended, five existing volunteers are providing support to the project.
Deliveries have begun on wards at Victoria Hospital and will start at Queen Margaret Hospital next week, before being rolled out across hospitals in Fife.
Healthcare staff will also be able to request specific items over and above those already provided as part of the initiative.
Recentlyt, 100 tablet computers were bought using donated money, helping patients stay connected with their loved ones with video calling whilst they remain in hospital.
Director of nursing, Helen Buchanan, said: “Those in our care and indeed, their friends and loved ones, have been incredibly understanding of the suspension of visiting in our hospitals, and we really do appreciate that.
“We are pleased to say that we now in a position where we can provide almost all of the items a patient might require while in hospital.”
Personal belongings continue to be dropped off by patients’ loved ones but NHS Fife is urging people to do this only when absolutely necessary.