Publish date: 31 October 2023

Meet Michelle Lobo. Working at Portsmouth Hospital (PHU) for 18 years across family liaison, patient experience and learning and development roles, she is certainly well-placed to showcase our Trust’s community.

Michelle - who recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as one of our Portsmouth Hospital Charity Champions - has definitely enjoyed a varied role in raising awareness of what the charity does across PHU since becoming a Charity Champion at the scheme’s launch last August.

Ranging from taking pictures at a Spinnaker Tower abseil fundraiser, selling raffle tickets, taking part in Walk for Wards or packing and distributing patient presents for a Christmas appeal, Michelle says: “It’s absolutely brilliant to help return the favour of support to Portsmouth Hospitals Charity.

“Everything they do always assists those working at PHU or enhances our patients experience and I thoroughly enjoy being able to fly the flag for the charity as a champion.”

Currently involved in the new Butterfly Resources initiative at PHU - which is funded by our charity - Michelle adds: “I love our hospital and supporting our amazing patients, as knowing you’ve helped enrich their experience is really rewarding. Working with so many awesome people across our Trust, you really see the difference we all make to patients and their loved ones, which is absolutely heart-warming.”

With this in mind, read on below to find out more from Michelle about what makes our Charity Champions scheme so attractive and why she’d really recommend it.

Find out more and become a Charity Champion

You can otherwise find out more and sign up to become a Charity Champion on our website, here.

The Q&A

What does your role in the family liaison team involve?

As part of the patient experience umbrella, my role can be reactive and different every day - but that is part of its attraction - as all routes lead back to ensuring patients have the best possible experience.

My days are varied. I could be supporting patients from a non-clinical wellbeing sense or helping my team of family liaison officers to provide comfort and support to patients and their loved ones.

For example, I could be:

  • Providing company and comfort to patients who maybe feeling isolated or upset, including patients with dementia who might be confused and frightened
  • Supporting ward to ward virtual visits where family members are in hospital at the same time
  • Helping connect patients with their loved ones, using technology or pen and paper
  • On occasion, streaming a funeral service for a loved one with a patient too unwell to attend in person
  • Or assisting with a virtual birthday party or wedding celebration
  • Support patient comfort and dignity with provision of toiletries and items to enhance their stay
  • Gathering, analysing and reporting patient feedback so that the organisation, individual wards and departments can improve care for patients and carers

Why did you decide to become one of our Charity Champions?

As a team, we believe little things make a big difference and the charity helps us achieve this. Our family liaison service has benefited from their fantastic support, including funding the initial set-up of our essentials boxes and subsequent top-ups. They’ve also funded puzzles, activity items and more, which all enhance a patient’s wellbeing.

For example, recently a patient needed help with denture fixative as they were getting mouth sores from wearing their dentures without fixative. Thanks to the charity we could provide this simple, small item which had such a big impact on this patient’s comfort and mood. It’s great to give back to help the charity after everything they’ve supported us with for our service.

What support/benefits do you get as a Charity Champion?

There’s definitely good fundraising idea advice and great event camaraderie. We also get involved by signposting staff to the charity team to access funds to improve working areas, while we promote charity events like Dragon’s Den. It’s lovely seeing requests you have supported come to fruition, such as the Butterfly Resources.

Why would you recommend people become a Charity Champion?

It’s a great way of networking, learning about and supporting other initiatives across our whole hospital to benefit patients and staff. It also gives you the opportunity and skills to fundraise or request donations of items for your own area using the charity team’s contacts, knowledge and expertise. I’d absolutely recommend becoming a Charity Champion.

Finally, what do you enjoy doing outside work?

I enjoy walking (especially if it involves a mid-point stop for coffee and cake!). I’m also a Portsmouth Jogging Club member (albeit I’m a slow jogger) and I enjoy reading (especially a good murder mystery).