Adena’s volunteers return to duty and fill many roles across the hospital
CHILLICOTHE – A neglected part of any hospital system is the backbone of volunteer work to help keep the hospital running smoothly.
Before the pandemic, Adena Health System had around 180 volunteers in the program, about half of whom returned, according to Michele Valentine, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, who also heads volunteer services with the Women’s Board and Volunteer Advisory Council.
The volunteer program fulfills many vital roles across the hospital, including running the gift shop, delivering mail, providing the information desk, working in the hospices and cancer center, and hugs. Who come to cuddle the babies.
Volunteers also participate in fundraising events throughout the year, in partnership with companies such as Scioto Shoe Mart.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Volunteer Services also had a transportation service, where volunteers helped patients with reduced mobility move around the hospital as needed.
When the state closed in March 2020 due to coronavirus precautions, the program was hampered, Valentine said, as all volunteer workers had to return home.
“The information desk was passed to our phone operators for the whole health system, so you didn’t have this volunteer that you could come in with and know where you’re going,” she said. “All of the management of the gift shop fell on the office staff (volunteer services), including pricing.”
As the vaccinations went on, the volunteers slowly started to return. Most returned in May, Valentine said.
“An exciting thing is that we are not only seeing the return of volunteers, but we also have people contacting us to volunteer, so we are able to increase even new volunteers from the organization we have incorporated six so far that are new in addition to the returning ones, ”she said.
Some volunteers are high school students looking to earn hours of service.
Many of the volunteers are retirees, looking for something to do in their spare time as well as to give back to the community.
Thomas Lee, 81, manages the daily mailbox throughout the Adena Regional Medical Center campus,
Lee has volunteered at the hospital since 2005, after retiring from Kenworth.
“It keeps me from going crazy,” he said.
Another volunteer, Diana Strawser, continued to serve the hospital after retiring from Adena’s billing department for 11 years. She works to make the cancer center patients more comfortable and helps out in the gift shop.
“I want to have something to do that feels like you’re helping,” she said.
“Our whole vocation is these volunteers and this service wanting to give back to patients and to this hospital,” said Valentine. “Volunteers donate to the healthcare system – throughout the year they also help support things financially, it is important that our hearts truly be with the healthcare system to give back to our patients and the community . ”
In addition to the time spent volunteering, the volunteer program plays a crucial role in supporting the Adena Health Foundation, said Beau Bowman, executive director of the foundation.
In 2020, Volunteer Services donated $ 330,000, which was used to support the Foundation’s COVID Emergency Fund, the charitable fund to help people on leave and various equipment, including eight work beds and d ‘delivery.
“Michele and her volunteers are doing a lot of work and doing a lot of great things at all of our hospitals in Adena,” Bowman said. Everyone’s most valuable resource is their time because you don’t get it back … I can’t think of a better way to help the community by volunteering at your local hospital, going to the gift shop and by buying things – it all supports the community in the end. “
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