Editor’s Note: The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a referral service designed to place volunteers in non-profit organizations where their knowledge and skills positively impact the community and individuals served. The following article is part of a monthly series by RSVP highlighting the community-based involvement and service of RSVP volunteers.
RSVP of Clearfield County provides volunteer support to approximately 70 public, non-profit or proprietary healthcare agencies, also called “stations,” throughout Clearfield County. Two of its largest stations are the Clearfield Hospital and DuBois Regional Medical Center.
The volunteer program contributes greatly to the ever-increasing manpower needs of the hospitals. Both hospitals provide RSVP volunteers with a wide variety of service opportunities. All volunteers are bound by a professional code of ethics for the protection of the patients, volunteers and the hospitals.
Volunteers at Clearfield hospital, many of whom are RSVP volunteers, are utilized in various departments within the hospital. The volunteer opportunities include serving in any of the following hospital areas: at the Cottage (the hospital gift shop), in the emergency department, as floor volunteers or clerical support, as information desk clerks, the Auxiliary, making comfort care items and throughout the hospital transporting or escorting patients.
Volunteers serving in the Ambulatory Care Unit, in the Chemo Clinic, the Transitional Care Unit and the emergency/registration areas serve as hosts/hostesses. Their job is to greet the patients, their families and guests.
A volunteer escort delivers mail and flowers to patients and takes patients to and from treatment and diagnostic areas. The Cottage is a gift shop located in the hospital and operated under the management of the Clearfield Hospital Auxiliary. All clerks in the Cottage are volunteers. All proceeds from the gift shop are donated to the hospital to be used for improvements, new equipment, or scholarships in the medical field.
An information desk volunteer greets guests and locates the patient’s room for the guests. These volunteers receive training to become knowledgeable of hospital personnel and departments in order to direct guests to the appropriate department. To provide comfort to patients, a group of volunteers make stuffed animals for children going to the emergency room or entering the hospital, turbans for chemo patients, infant shrouds and heart pillows for surgery patients.
The Auxiliary of Clearfield Hospital uses all monies raised to try to fill requests for equipment, improvements to the facility, and/or scholarships for many students. Every year, the Auxiliary plans a Charity Ball and a Children’s Health Fair. The Clearfield Hospital Auxiliary also started Lifeline, a personal emergency response program.
“’Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer. – author unknown.’ This is true at Clearfield Hospital.” said Kathy Bedger, RN MS, and VP of Nursing. “We welcome people to join our team of volunteers as escorts, Cottage Gift Shop workers, hospice support, chaplain assistants, and special projects workers.” Sue Stiner, director of nursing says, “Daily life at the hospital for staff and patients is brightened by our volunteers.” Another representative from the hospital added, “We have a rich tradition of volunteers at Clearfield Hospital – many serving hundreds of hours per year for many years. We look forward to new people learning about the joy of volunteering and giving to others in our community at the hospital. We offer flexible schedules, training, and the opportunity to give a smile, a hand, or time to those who need you.”
Many volunteer positions at the DuBois Regional Medical Center (DRMC) are similar to the ones described for Clearfield Hospital. Volunteers at DRMC serve in the Hahne Cancer Center, the emergency department, and throughout the hospital as floor volunteers, information desk clerks, escorts, or clerical support.
DRMC also has an active auxiliary that assists with many events over the years including the DRMC Golf Classic, the Holiday Ball, bazaars, bake sales, Monte Carlo Night, as well as other special projects throughout the year.
Kristin Swope, coordinator of volunteer services at DRMC, works closely with the volunteers. Swope states, “DRMC always welcomes the opportunity for new volunteers. Our volunteers staff many different stations, including information desks, patient escort services, clerical support, and various other patient and family support services. We have approximately 100 hospital volunteers and our list fluctuates due to volunteers moving away from the area, changing family situations, etc. New volunteers are trained for positions they are interested in and sometimes serve as substitutes at that station until a regular shift becomes available.”
What a great way to give back to your community – become a hospital volunteer either at the Clearfield Hospital or DRMC. If you would like to be an RSVP volunteer at your local hospital and brighten someone’s day, please call the RSVP office.
MAY VOLUNTEER CORNER:
CLERICAL VOLUNTEERS: Many non-profit organizations throughout the county have requested volunteer support for clerical duties. Duties may include answering phones, filing, or general paperwork. All training is provided and scheduling is flexible.
PEN PAL: Many residents of nursing/personal care homes receive little or no mail. They may feel frustrated at their loss of independence and need a connection to their community. RSVP volunteers are needed to brighten a resident’s life by writing letters monthly to the residents. This is an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.
ACTIVITY ASSISTANTS/VISITORS: Nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities throughout the county are accepting volunteers to assist staff with activities for the residents. This is a great way to brighten someone’s day. Many residents receive little or no visitors and you could make a big difference in their day. If you would like to visit with a resident, help with a Bingo game, or assist with a craft time, this is an opportunity for you.
CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS: If you enjoy the outdoors, why not consider volunteering some time to help our local parks. Some of the volunteer opportunities include trails/wildlife habitat, environmental education, forest fire prevention, maintenance, research, and campground hosting. The volunteer work can be challenging and rewarding. Any amount of time you donate would benefit Pennsylvania’s great outdoors.
If you are interested in any of the above volunteer opportunities or would like to learn more about RSVP, please call RSVP at 814-765-2226 or 1-800-225-8571.
RSVP is sponsored and partially funded by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Clearfield and DuBois United Way agencies, memorials, and contributions.