Royal Papworth Charity funds virtual reading sessions for patients

Virtual reading sessions are being delivered at The Royal Papworth Hospital. 

Left to Right: Kevin Maduwa Guruge, part of the digital team and Laura Bowden and Anne Dorrell, two Senior Staff Nurses in Critical Care. - Credit: Royal Papworth Hospital

The Royal Papworth charity is funding virtual reading sessions to support the recovery of patients in the hospital's  critical care unit. 

The Read A Little Aloud project provides specially-designed live reading sessions for longer-stay critical care patients, to improve their mental wellbeing and aid their recovery. 

It also provides the opportunity for family members to join in with the session virtually, helping relatives to connect and enjoy a positive shared experience whilst they are apart.  

Patients in the critical care unit (CCU), such as those awaiting a heart transplant or those with severe illness from COVID-19, can be in Royal Papworth Hospital’s CCU for extended periods of time.  

Due to visitor restrictions in place and the vulnerable nature of these patients, these patients are only able to see their loved ones on limited occasions. 

Read A Little Aloud offers twice weekly sessions for Royal Papworth Hospital’s critical care patients.  

The project takes the concept of audiobook listening one step further, with virtual live reading sessions, giving patients the opportunity for social interaction beyond their ward.  

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The sessions take place for 30 minutes at a time and comprise of a mixture of short stories, poems and extracts of different literature that are read out virtually by a member of Cambridge Library.  

As these sessions are live, patients are able to engage with the readers and other patients or just listen quietly if they would prefer. 

Josie Rudman, chief nurse said: “We are incredibly grateful to Royal Papworth Charity for funding the project and the members of the Cambridge Library for the live reading sessions.  

The project offers additional support and stimulation to aid the long-term recovery of our patients. 

The project has been developed by Royal Papworth Hospital Library staff and critical care staff.  

The content of each session has been specifically chosen to allow patients to escape the four walls of their critical care bay for a short period of time.  

Only with the vital funding provided by Royal Papworth Charity and the generosity of their supporters can projects such as Read A Little Aloud be expanded to incorporate long-stay patients across the hospital, says the hospital.