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We are ICSM Connect

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ICSM Connect is an Imperial College Careers Society with the interest of helping individuals who have been admitted to hospital for continuous care, to make even the longest of stays as enjoyable as possible.

Our aims

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are so harmful to our health that it can have the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Patients who are particularly vulnerable to this, and who are accordingly the main focus of Connect, are the elderly since they do not have many loved ones to visit them. Although healthcare professionals do try their best to combat this there is only so much they can do with their limited time.

The aim of ICSM Connect is to:

Provide a supportive social network for elderly inpatients that helps them emotionally and provides mental stimulation

Promote the awareness of social isolation and its impact on physical and mental health

Who do we help?

Patients

The elderly make up the majority of hospital inpatients, but they are also the most vulnerable and often with very few visitors. Our visits provide important social support for these lonely individuals who may otherwise have very few they can confide in.




Students

Do you want to make a difference? Volunteer for a good cause? Why not brighten the day of a dementia patient looking forward to your visit? Not only is joining Connect a great opportunity to improve communication skills for medical and non-medical students alike, it is also an excellent way to improve your CV. From inspiring life lessons shared to personal development, ICSM CONNECT helps both you and our community.

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors and nurses despite their best intentions simply do not have enough time, or resources to be able to spend an extended amount of time with individual patients. Our volunteering not only improves patient experience, but through conversation you may also find useful information which healthcare professionals can use to better patient care.

KEY INFO
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What we do

Visits

Volunteers are asked to visit the hospital in groups of 4 once every fortnight, with each visit lasting around 1-2 hours.
For many of these patients our volunteers are the only visitors they get, so they really love having someone to talk to and have so much to share. Our volunteers often talk about patients who have shared fascinating stories and words of wisdom that have had great influences on their lives. Although we mainly encourage conversing with these elderly, if you or your patient would like to you can also read them newspapers or even your favourite book.

Training

We know that the visits can be a little daunting at first which is why we have experienced CONNECT HONCHOS who lead the team, break the ice and guide you through the process. You will have the same HONCHO with you for each term and they will be able to give you feedback on how to improve for each session.

Socials

What society would be complete without a good social life? With an even bigger budget for social events than ever before we will be organising events throughout the year for you to relax, meet new people and have fun!

Infection Control

Volunteers must be bare below the elbows, must not wear jewellery and gel or wash hands whenever appropriate. Please also remember to use hand gel between contact with patients.

Confidentiality

All information given by the patient must remain confidential expect for specific situations which should be first discussed with the team leader.

Approaching the patient

Imperial College ID badges must be visible at all times while in the hospital. Volunteers will be given relevant information about how to approach and interact with elderly patients on the training day.

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Meet the Team
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Ju Hyoung Yoo

ICSM Connect Chair

Hey! Welcome to our page! I'm Ju, this year's chair, and I really hope you'll consider volunteering with us. My main job is to maintain the vision of Connect; to help the elderly at their most vulnerable state. I started volunteering in 2013 and still continue as it's always immensely rewarding. I've been blessed with stories of growing up during the war, how Britain's changed culturally, socially, politically over the years, and many more personal, precious memories told with such fondness. I sincerely hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I have, and know, that as a committee, we'll be looking out for you, to ensure you have the best time possible as a fellow volunteer of ICSM Connect. Please, if you have any questions don't hesitate to add me on Facebook and leave me a message, and hopefully I'll see you around!

Winston Chew

Vice-Chair

One of the reasons why I choose to study medicine was because no other intellectually stimulating career had the same privilege of connecting with people on a level where their life and well-being was entrusted in your hands. In school, we learn about the science behind medicine, perfecting our knowledge of the human body. The art of medicine however is composed of both the scientific and emotional aspects in life. ICSM connect is a great opportunity to remind medics why they choose medicine as a career path. The interactions with the patients in the geriatrics wards are a humbling and inspiring experience as we not only learn more about the patients but also what makes a great doctor in the eyes of those we will care for one day.

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Charlotte Chow

Secretary

My name's Charlotte, a second year Biomed. I have joined ICSM Connect since last November and so far, it has been really rewarding and meaningful. I enjoy talking to the patients in wards, sharing their thoughts, helping with meal times, and it means a lot to them as well. Also being involved in Soup Run and IC First Aid, I have a lot of experience volunteering. I am friendly and approachable, so feel free to come to me if you have any problems.

Evelyne Kiu

Treasurer

Hi, I'm Evelyne. Welcome to ICSM Connect! I enjoy being involved with Connect because I get to speak to so many interesting people from various backgrounds when I go on hospital visits. I get to volunteer for a really great cause and also meet many lovely volunteers too. In my free time, I like doing sports, especially sport climbing. I also enjoy some travelling and exploring the outdoors whenever I can. Do volunteer with Connect and I hope to see you around!

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Kien Nguyen

Publicity Officer

My name is Kien and I am a passionate and enthusiastic member of ICSM. Being a medic fresher, I love to meet people and am always ready to help out! My optimistic outlook and cheerful disposition will help me to bring the fun into ICSM Connect!

Susanna Wong

Volunteer Coordinator

Hello, my name is Susanna and I'm glad to be elected for the ICSM Connect committee this year! As a person who volunteers regularly, I understand how good time management and organisation skills are important for busy people like us, who would also like to spend some time in the week to make a difference to other people. My job as volunteer coordinator is to ensure that all our members volunteer at their best available times, so that you will be able to enjoy your experience as much as possible. I believe that what we commit to is meaningful, and we hope you will feel the same too!

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Dr. David James

Consultant Geriatrician and Trust Clinical Lead for Dementia, St Mary’s Hospital

Being in hospital is a challenging experience for anyone, but for the elderly infirm and often frail patients, it can be especially difficult. Many of these patients spend a long time in hospital, dependent on other people for all of their care needs. For those who also have dementia, hospitals and all that happens in them can make them very frightening places. By encouraging social interaction, ICSM Connect has proved invaluable in helping reduce loneliness, isolation and depression in older people in hospital. I am very proud of the students’ achievements to date and I would urge all students to get involved in something which is hugely valuable and rewarding.

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St Mary’s Hospital

Praed Street
Paddington, London

Email

connect.careers@imperial.ac.uk

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