By Jenn Watt
Published July 10 2018
For many years volunteers were recruited for friendly visiting in long-term care but up until now there wasn’t anything similar for acute care.
Haliburton Highlands Health Services along with the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary is organizing a new crew of volunteers to commit to short visits doing the simple things that can make someone’s day much better.
It could be bringing someone a newspaper reading to them refilling their water or helping them participate in programming.
“We’re in the process of getting it going” said Jacqui Clarkson president of the auxiliary. “We’re finding as more and more people are retiring here more and more people are looking for avenues in how they can use their energies and their interests.”
She hopes some – 10 to 15 of them – will be interested in giving a couple hours here and there to help out.
Brigitte Gebauer volunteer co-ordinator for Community Support Services at HHHS said currently there are no activities happening in acute care which can make afternoons boring for some. Having volunteers there to bring some cheer would do a world of good. They can also bring the patients into Highland Wood long-term care home to participate in their programming.
Volunteers would be needed afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m. and two evenings a week Mondays and Thursdays which are movie and bingo nights. Afternoons can be the hardest to get through Clarkson and Gebauer said. Mornings typically include bathing breakfast and lunch as well as any therapy that needs to be done. Afternoons however typically have less activity.
This new volunteer opportunity is also good for young people considering a career in medicine. Volunteering will allow them to see what it’s like behind the scenes.
In the future Clarkson would also like to see volunteers working in the emergency department helping patients in the waiting room by providing a friendly face and answers to common questions like where the cafeteria is.
Volunteers for acute care need to go through the same process that other HHHS volunteers do which includes orientation a police check and a health review which includes a TB test and checking that vaccinations are up to date.
Clarkson is an active volunteer already through the auxiliary and with the Grandmothers to Grandmothers organization and she said what motivates her is the positive feedback loop that is created when you do something nice for someone else.
“They were happy and I’m happy because they’re happy. There’s a lot to be said about that” she said.
Gebauer confirmed that research backs up that observation.
“Anytime you go out and do volunteer work you’re in a better frame of mind” she said.
For more information about this new volunteer opportunity contact Brigitte Gebauer at 705-457-1392 extension 2927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.