Former lift engineer, Jim Woods, has been volunteering with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland as part of a unique partnership with the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank since 2011.
Along with fellow volunteer, Allan Stewart, who also has an engineering background, Jim, affectionately known by hospital staff as ‘Dr Ears’, support up to 15 patients each time he volunteers: “We go in and ask 'does anyone have a hearing aid?’ and do everything from retubing hearing aids to giving advice to patients with hearing loss and the nurses who work with them. It's a joy to go in and help people.”
Jim takes pleasure from his volunteering – especially when influencing positive changes: “Communication between nursing staff and patients with hearing loss has improved and resulted in patients getting better consultations. The partnership with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland made this change possible.”
Jim, whose efforts have been recognised at the PEN (Patient Experience Network) awards, said: “There is a tremendous amount of trust placed in Alan and me by hospital staff to support patients with hearing loss and to ensure that their hearing aids are functioning properly.
“Allan and I are great believers in the use of assistive technology such as hearing loops and personal listeners so that patients can enjoy watching the television in comfort.”
Looking to the future, Jim would like other people to get involved: “I’m not getting any younger and at some point we will need to pass on the torch. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland will provide the training for anyone interested and Allan and I will share all the knowledge we have gained from our volunteering experience.”