Friday night as you will have seen through social media (Friday Night Selfies!), is when we hand out the gift bags to Northampton General Hospital.
Friday is the end of the working week, which people are looking forward to. A chance to get away from work and wind down before you are back at work on Monday. Yet, if you are in the hospital then the days roll in to one and Friday no longer has that same feeling. This is why we chose Friday night, so that patients had something to look forward to when we come into hospital with our gift bags. Now we have patients say they have been looking forward to us coming, which is what we always wanted to achieve.
Gift Bag Hand Out.
We start at 6.30pm on a Friday evening and it takes as long as it takes. If someone wants to spend a bit of time talking we will do that, to us it is not a problem. There is no rush.
There are 28 beds on Talbot Butler Ward in Northampton General Hospital. Every bed gets visited. If someone is too sick at that particular time to receive a gift bag, a selection is left so that they can pick one when they feel better.
Sometimes we go round and people are sleeping. So we leave one next to their bed, so when they wake up they have a nice surprise. We don’t want anyone to wake up and feel left out.
No money is taken for the gift bags and no donations whilst we are on the ward. It is important for us these are free gift bags and we don’t want people to feel under pressure to donate. This can be a surprise to some people who can’t believe it is free or think there is a catch. There really isn’t. Whilst, someone can start off wary when you enter the room by the end we have broken the ice because all we want to do is spread some happiness.
For people who are in there a long time we can tailor the packs to what they need. There was a lady on the ward who loved Sudoku books and adult colouring books, so we would then personalise the packs for her. When we notice what someone likes we will make up packs they like.
Alternatively, if someone asks us for a particular item and we haven’t got it at the time then we get it for them. A recent example is a man who really needed a waterproof PICC Line cover, so we returned the next day with one for him.
We listen to feedback from patients on things that would be great for the pack and implement them. This has happened from Men's Toiletries to Cross Stitch Packs.
We also do an emergency overnight kit, in case you are rushed in and have nothing with you. Filled with underwear socks and products such as shower gel, toothbrush/paste and deodorant, it is one less thing for you to worry about when in hospital. These are available on the ward on request.
The nurses are great is giving ideas for what would really benefit the patients, which has led us to implementing new packs. We do bring in some goodies for them from time to time as a thanks for supporting us whilst we are on the ward.