No visitors – except in exceptional circumstances – are currently allowed to visit inpatients at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, patients can still receive their essential items and belongings from home.
A team of ‘response volunteers’ are now manning desks at both hospitals seven-days-a-week in order to receive essential items from people with loved ones in hospital, and then deliver them to the wards.
Ruth Smith, head of patient experience at SaTH, which runs both RSH and PRH, said that the system would work both ways – with people also able to pick up washing and items that were no longer required by their loved one in hospital.
She said: “It is so important that our patients are able to have familiar items from home such as clean nightwear, toiletries, magazines and books to read – and having no visiting has made this difficult.
"Having access to a mobile phone and charger is also really helpful to support patients keeping in touch with people important to them whilst in hospital.
“Our staff have been helping relatives get items to their loved ones – but we realised that we needed to have a more efficient, seven-days-a-week service and our volunteers are enabling this to happen.
“We are really grateful to our fantastic team of volunteers for their help, this will make a real difference to our patients whilst they are in hospital, and their families.”
Anyone who wants to drop off essential items for a loved one in hospital is asked that belongings be put into a single bag which is wipeable and not fabric.
It can be dropped off inside the ward block entrance at RSH and inside the main entrance of the PRH, and must be clearly labelled with the patient’s name, date of birth and ward location – along with the name and telephone number of the person dropping the bag off.
People will need to bring ID with them to show at the reception desk when they drop off or pick up belongings.
Relatives and friends of patients can also send a message to their loved one in hospital.
Ruth said: “We are acutely aware of the pain of separation during this pandemic so to try and ease this we have introduced ‘Send a message to a loved one’ scheme.
“We know how much messages from family and friends mean to our patients and how much they brighten up their day.
"To send a message, all you need to do is fill in our online form – complete with a photo if you wish – and we will make sure that this is delivered.”
Visit www.sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient to send a message.