Volunteers do make a difference

Strathroy, ON- The Strathroy site of the Middlesex Hospital Alliance (SMGH) took an evening to formally acknowledge the contributions Volunteers make at the hospital.

At the MHA, Volunteers are an integral part of the daily routine of the hospital.  It is interesting to note that at the Strathroy site, 100 people have volunteered a total of almost 10,000 hours last year, carrying out various duties.

Many departments utilize volunteers, with the biggest demand being for patient escorts, porters for the Rehabilitation Department and Ambulatory Care volunteers. According to Middlesex Hospital Alliance volunteer co-ordinator Judy Peters, volunteers provide an invaluable service to the hospital.  “The volunteers are an important part of the hospital,” said Peters. “They are able to do many tasks that assist the staff to provide the best care possible”.  Patient escorts, for example, transport patients to different parts of the hospital when tests are needed. They provide a calming influence for patients who might be apprehensive or nervous.

For example, as a volunteer at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital information desk, Betty Bolton helps guide patients and visitors to the appropriate place they are seeking.  After she retired, Betty was looking for something to do outside the home and she decided to volunteer at the hospital.  For the past 12 years, Betty has devoted four hours once a week — usually on Monday or Wednesday– to assist at the information desk.  “The role has changed a bit,” explained Betty. “We have many more people coming in the front door now that everyone who has an appointment needs to register.”

For Betty, volunteering is very satisfying and she enjoys meeting new people, and seeing old friends as well.  “You get to know people who come to the hospital on a regular basis,” said Betty. “It’s nice to see familiar faces.”

For those volunteers in the rehab department, they assist the therapists by portering the patients to the gym and assisting them with their exercises under the direction and supervision of the therapists.

The Ontario Breast Screening Program is held on Monday and Wednesday, volunteers are there from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  “Those helping with the breast screening program greet the patients and explain the process,” said Peters. “ This helps the patients feel more at ease.”

Other areas that utilize volunteers include: the emergency department, diagnostic imaging, diabetic education department, ambulatory care, inpatient nursing units, same day care/medical devices reprocessing dept., housekeeping/building services, human resources, health records and the Foundation.

Volunteers are always needed. For more information about how to get involved at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital, contact Judy Peters, at 519-245-5295, ext. 5539 or via email:  judy.peters@mha.tvh.ca

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