Initially we started involving volunteers because the Scottish Government has asked that we involve more lay people. From the offset it became apparent that having a volunteer, rather than a member of staff, involved in hygeine audits for the Infection Control Department made people more willing to open up with issues or problems they might have – it opened a gateway of communication.
The volunteers are involved in manning front of house stalls to talk to the public and staff about hand hygiene. They also walk around wards auditing the clinical areas which was a big piece of work, they gauge how aware the pulbic are about hand hygiene to give us a general overview. We used the information from the audit to take action in some areas. The other positive thing to come out of it is that when people realise they are talking to a volunteer, they want to get involved as well and ask how they can help.
If we had the resources, we’d love to involve more volunteers. They pick up things that staff might not, like how the signage is laid out inside the hospital and can often give more of an objective view point. They’re a great asset and a benefit to the hospital.