Two-fifths of patients do not have visitors during hospital stay, suggests survey

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19th September 2019 12:14 - Health

Two-fifths of patients do not have visitors during hospital stay: A survey of nurses working in acute care hospitals has revealed that two-fifths of their patients do not have a visitor during their stay. The nurses polled in the study for the Royal Voluntary Service said that a lack of visitors had a negative impact on a patient health and could slow recovery time down in a variety of ways. 

According to the nurses polled, the patients who do not have visitors, require more support from nursing staff, with more than half (56%) saying volunteers can be vital in helping the hospital deliver effective patient care. Having volunteers work alongside medical staff on wards means that nurses have more time for clinical care, with almost three quarters (74%) saying volunteers add value to hospitals for staff. Nine out of 10 (90%) nurses said the presence of a volunteer adds a lot of value to patients during their hospital stay. 

The survey also revealed that 43% of nurses said patients without visitors are less likely to be mobile than those who have them. More than half (56%) said patients with no visitors are less likely to be stimulated through conversation than those who do, and more than a third (37%) may even face a longer stay in hospital if they do not have a visitor. Patients were also less likely to follow medical advice if they did not have a visitor, according to the survey. 

Almost half the nurses polled said that volunteers can help increase patient satisfaction on acute wards through offering support in areas that don't require medical attention (49%) and by helping to ensure patients are adequately hydrated and are eating well at meal times and throughout the day (50%). 

Sam Ward, Director of Commissioned Services for Royal Voluntary Service, said: "Volunteers offer a professional support service, encouraging mental stimulation, physical activity, and more that can play a significant role in both mental and physical recovery."

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