Volunteer Week 2014

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2014

Service with a smile

Volunteers at Doylestown Hospital are everywhere. They greet patients and visitors at the front door. They transport patients going home. And they're involved in many of the steps that take place in between. In fact, these volunteers impact the lives of patients and their families from birth through the end of life.

Doylestown Hospital is fortunate to have 890 adult and teen volunteers. These committed community members assist in close to 90 different services at the hospital.

Last year, they contributed 124,302 hours of service doing everything from knitting blankets for hospice patients to providing directions and assistance at the hospital's information desks. The newest service has volunteers taking the "art cart" around to patients, who select which painting they'd like to hang in their room during their stay.

"People have a misconception that volunteers have a lot of time on their hands, but that has changed," says Doylestown Hospital Volunteer Services Director Karen Langley. "Older volunteers are often busy with other volunteer jobs, personal interests and family. Many younger volunteers come seeking experience in a healthcare environment."

But all the volunteers share one thing in common: they want their jobs to be important. “The volunteers here are given really meaningful work to do," says Langley. "They're people who are already busy who choose to do something they find worthwhile, or they move on."

From the beginning to the very end

One of the most popular volunteer positions is in the VIA Maternity Center. Volunteers may give newborns their first bath. While they tend to other needs of the staff, the babies are the big draw. These volunteers, like all those with patient contact, are carefully screened and trained. They are held to the same standards of conduct and confidentiality as their paid colleagues.

There are those, too, who volunteer specifically to comfort patients at the end of life. The No One Dies Alone volunteers sit with terminally ill patients, reading to them or playing soothing music. They keep journals about their time with dying patients. The volunteers describe being profoundly moved and grateful for the experience.

Volunteers are priceless

Volunteers do the majority of patient transports in the hospital. Last year, that number totaled 31,402.

As much as the volunteers say they benefit from their work, they also benefit the hospital, and not just in terms of providing a friendly face. The monetary value of their contributions last year is estimated at $2.7 million. That's significant for a non-profit, independent hospital like Doylestown.

Each spring, the hospital takes time to acknowledge volunteers with a special banquet and themed Volunteer Week activities. Hospital staff actively participate, recognizing their volunteer colleagues with special lunches, treats and decorations.

This year's theme takes a cue from Hollywood with "And the Oscar goes to . . . Doylestown Hospital Volunteers!"

"Bucks County is a very generous area where people want to be invested in their community," says Langley. "We are eternally grateful our volunteers chose us."

About Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health is a comprehensive system of inpatient, outpatient and community services connected to meet the health and wellness needs of all members of the community. Our independent and nonprofit system is dedicated to healthcare excellence from childbirth to end-of-life care.

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