Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Volunteer Services are on site in a limited capacity.
Most visitors to Lennox & Addington County General Hospital (LACGH) are familiar with the volunteers in red smocks who greet them, help them find their way in the hospital, sell HELPP tickets, and run the coffee shop. But unless you have been a patient you may be unaware of the In-Patient Volunteers.
In-Patient Volunteers work with the nurses in both the Acute Care and Convalescent Care units of the hospital. For those unfamiliar with what we do, I refer to us as the geriatric Candy Stripers (with apologies to our younger colleagues). But therein lies our problem. Since most of the people who have the time to volunteer are seniors, they are also snowbirds and cottagers so Volunteer Services is constantly in need of new faces in many departments.
The scheduled times are 8am to 11am, Monday to Friday. And our duties vary with the needs of the day. Typically, we arrive as the dietary staff is beginning to serve breakfasts. They have brought up a cart of fresh water jugs full of ice that we distribute with fresh glasses and collect the used ones to go back to the kitchen. This is also an opportunity to see how the patient is managing with her breakfast. Imagine how frustrating it must be to open those little containers with arthritic fingers, to find what is on your tray with impaired vision, or to learn how to butter toast with one hand after a stroke. Later we collect the finished meal trays and assist patients to tidy their bedside tables, making sure telephone, Kleenex, books etc., are within reach. Then we restock supplies in each room. We porter patients to x-ray and tests, take papers to the office and samples to the lab, and return stretchers and wheelchairs to other areas of the hospital, as needed. We can help patients who are being discharged to pack their belongings or we can sit with a patient who is anxious, confused, or lonely.
There is a lot of walking involved for those few hours but otherwise all that is required is a compassionate heart. Being bedridden and unable to do the simplest things for oneself can be both frustrating and disheartening. The value of a smile and a helping hand is immeasurable.
If you have few hours a month to share please contact Beryl Jacka, Co-ordinator of Volunteer Services at 613-354-2562.
A brief look at what we do
Examples: Volunteer Services Board positions, communications, correspondence, memberships.
Bakers, Crafters, Knitters
All contribute behind the scenes.
Clinics & Same Day Surgery
Greet people with a smile and porter patients to Same Day Surgery. Assist patients and nursing staff as needed, replenish supplies as needed, prepare stretchers and bring families to the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit, as requested. Answer the telephone and deliver messages as needed.
Coffee and Gift Shop
Individuals wishing to volunteer in our Coffee & Gift Shop greet, assist, and serve customers. Cashier duties include debit machine transactions and preparing receipts for all Gift Shop purchases. We also arrange and accept payments for TV Rental customers.
Located alongside the HELPP Desk in the front lobby, we greet visitors and direct them to clinics or to information. Volunteers do not give out the names or room numbers of patients.
Emergency Area Support
Primarily restock supplies, linens, and blood work trays. Change linen on beds once the patient has been discharged. Aid nurses in giving out meal trays, getting nourishment for patients and simply help out as requested.
Volunteers spend time with patients and their families. They offer companionship and stimulation.
Volunteers work together on our various fundraisers (such as Bazaars, Dessert Bridge, Valentine’s Tea & Bake Sale, Mother’s Day Tea, Pile of Pennies).
HELPP Lottery Ticket Sales
Selling HELPP tickets is one of our fundraisers. Good accounting practices are used in this position. All winning tickets are kept and matched with the money paid out. Public relations are also an important part of HELPP, as a smile and a greeting are always pleasant to see and hear.
Volunteers greet patients and assist them in completing a questionnaire, “Your Symptoms Count,” on a tablet.
Greet and chat with patients. Replace and tidy books and magazines in the lobby, ER, clinic areas, lounges, patient rooms, ICU and waiting rooms.
Mammography & Bone Density
Greet and escort patients into the clinic. Provide a gown if needed, and directions for the patient. Be familiar with the location of supplies. Prepare to assist nursing staff, clerical staff, and patients in any way.
Patient Care – Acute Care & Convalescent Care Units
Help people in difficult circumstances, using a sense of responsibility, humour, tact, and patience. Working directly with patients, and under the supervision of the nursing staff, collect meal trays, open food packages if needed, make coffee, tea and toast snacks, fill water jugs, run errands.
One of the important positions that helps keep patients entertained is the rental of our televisions. A Volunteer checks daily to identify new patients, patients who have been discharged or patients who have moved and then enables or disables TV’s as required. Some simple record keeping is required to track which patients have chosen to rent a TV. Invoices are provided and sometimes funds collected, although most patients choose to pay at the Coffee & Gift Shop.
Triage Courtesy Desk
Offer a warm greeting with a smile and if necessary, explain how the kiosk and Triage area works. Give directions and explanations as requested. Check to make sure that there are adequate masks, Kleenex, emesis basins, and wheelchairs. Monitor waiting room.