Visiting lonely patients in hospitals during Christmas

25th Jan 2019
Visiting lonely patients in hospitals during Christmas

(Photo: Fatema Hassan/Muslim News)

Fatema Hassan

Loneliness can be a real problem, in particular, if you are unwell and in hospital. Elderly patients in hospitals are in great need of love and companionship and can be neglected, especially during the festive period of Christmas, traditionally spent with family and loved ones.

On Christmas morning a group of volunteers from various backgrounds visited the Older People’s Ward at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow. Having visited the hospital for the past 4 years, we have seen how lonely Christmas can be for patients who are too frail to go home or have nobody to visit them.

At the Northwick Park Hospital, gifts, generously donated by the public, were presented to more than 200 patients across seven wards: Herrick, Hardy, Haldane, Fielding, Dowland, Dickens, and Evelyn.

The success of the event was due to the collective efforts locals from Brent. Costa, M&S, and Subway staff at Northwick Park Hospital shared their kindness and support by donating cakes and snacks to the event; the Preston Manor School students provided handmade Christmas cards for the patients, and the 4th Kenton Scouts Hall provided a venue and helped out with gift wrapping.

The supportive and welcoming approach of the NHS staff at Northwick Park Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital Pharmacists for this initiative and the hard work they put in every day, Christmas or not, to provide care for all patients should not go unmentioned.

The day was a huge success in bringing happiness to staff, patients, and their relatives. Expressing her excitement one patient said: “This is the best surprise I have had in many years” while another, with tears in her eyes, stated: “This was the first card I have received this year for Christmas”. A birthday song was sung for another elderly patient, bringing a smile to her and her sons face.

Volunteers covered the wards for three hours and their efforts felt rewarded when one of the patients expressed, “You must have been blessed to have the opportunity to do this”.
It can feel compelling travelling far to reach out to those in need.

However, it’s important to remember we have people at our doorsteps in desperate need of love and attention. Let’s make it our new year’s resolution to help those less fortunate than us in our local communities. It could be doing the shopping for our elderly in our neighbourhood’s, visiting those in poor health in our local hospitals, or acting as a translator for a new migrant. However small, yet significant, are the steps needed to bring us closer to building a loving community.

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