A veteran has called for more people to visit ex-military folk in hospital to cure their loneliness after admitting she was left scared and “lost” during a week-long stay.
Joyce MacMillan, who served with Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps as a nursing stewardess in Ireland in 1975, said it would be “brilliant” to see veterans get more visits or even well-wishing cards.
Joyce, 62, found out first-hand how lonely hospital can be during a recent week-long stay due to suffering from double pneumonia and a lung condition called COPD.
She said: “If you’re rushed into hospital you don’t have time to let people know where you are.
“I have no family at all up in this area.
“My nearest relation is my daughter and she’s down in Fife.
“For her to travel up to see me it’s almost 200 miles. You feel quite lost.
“It was scary. It was horrible.
“I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to sign myself out but I couldn’t because of how ill I was.”
Joyce, who also runs the Privates on Parade charity shop in Fraserburgh, has now been home for a number of weeks but is still isolated due to her health.
She said: “It’s still lonely for me because I’m stuck at home.
“If you’re admitted, one of the questions asked should be ‘are you a veteran?’
“And if the answer is yes they inform the social work department at the hospital and they get in touch with the local SSAFA, one of the organisations that help us find someone to give us a visit.”
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Joyce said it can make a huge difference having people come in to visit or send cards.
She said: “For anybody that had a spare 10 minutes to go and visit a veteran in hospital, it would be brilliant.
“It wouldn’t make us feel as though we were nothing and we’d just been dumped.
“I had one veteran come in and see me. I have had get well cards from total strangers.
“There are folk out there that care and support our veterans.
“The veteran that came in to see me, we spoke about the armed forces, places we’d been and stuff we’d done.
“It made me feel an awful lot better.
“How my face lit up when I saw the cards that came to the hospital for me. It was unbelievable.
A spokeswoman at SSAFA said: “Many people from the armed forces community call us to express how lonely and isolated they feel and this feeling can be amplified when they’re in hospital and not able to go about their normal routines.
“We want to reach as many people in the armed forces community as possible so we would welcome the decision to identify veterans on their admission to hospital.
“SSAFA is there for veterans, serving personnel and their families, whenever and wherever they need us.”