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April 15, 2011 > Washington Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Washington Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Everyday Washington Hospital counts on volunteers to provide added support for patients, visitors and families. Whether it's greeting a visitor, comforting a patient or other countless duties, volunteers provide that added something special that patients, visitors and staff appreciate and value.

National Volunteer Week (April 10-16) is a special opportunity to honor volunteers who devote their time, energy and talent to serving the community. Washington Hospital is fortunate to have a diverse group of more than 600 dedicated people who volunteer their time throughout the year.

Volunteer Services Director Anna Elola says that it's difficult to measure the true value of a volunteer.

"How can you put a value on the gift of time that volunteers bring to the hospital? It's said that the estimated dollar value of volunteer time for 2010 was $21.36 per hour. Last year, our volunteers gave 47,654 hours of volunteer service. That would be a whopping $964,993.50," says Elola.

Although National Volunteer Week is only observed once a year, Elola shares that the hospital celebrates volunteers all year long.

"We take time to show our appreciation everyday in many ways, but we make an extra special effort during National Volunteer Week," adds Elola.

There are many reasons why people may decide to volunteer, but for Andy Estevez, President of Washington Hospital's Service League, the value of a strong community hospital is one of the reasons he became a volunteer.

"Before I started volunteering, I had many admissions at Washington Hospital, including two open heart surgeries, and during all those times I was able to speak to many volunteers," Estevez says. "I talked myself into becoming a volunteer as soon as I was forced to retire because of my heart condition at that time."

Estevez has worked in several parts of the hospital including the Lobby, Emergency Room and Surgery Waiting Room and has enjoyed every minute of his time volunteering. "When it's time to go home, I always feel very good about being able to help someone," he adds.

In addition to the Service League's volunteers, Washington Hospital also benefits from the dedication of a number of other vital volunteers, including:
* Officers of the Washington Hospital Employees' Association (WHEA), who spearhead community projects to help local nonprofit organizations.
* Hospice Volunteers, who provide a special gift of time by providing support and relief to caregivers of terminally ill patients by helping with tasks, visiting and making phone calls.
* Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation Volunteers, who provide support to the foundation's many charitable events.
* The Mended Hearts Board, which organizes educational meetings, lunches and social events for people in the community and the Mended Heart Volunteer Visitors who have had heart surgery and choose to volunteer their time visiting current heart surgery patients and their family members in the hospital.
* Hospital Chaplains, spiritual care volunteers who provide spiritual counseling and comfort to patients and family members in the hospital.
Volunteer Opportunities

In honor of National Volunteer Week, take time to consider volunteering your time. There are many different types of volunteer opportunities available through the Service League, and to make it even easier to volunteer, the hospital has implemented a "Random Staffing" program, which enables trained volunteers to go online and choose a time and day that is convenient for them to donate their time.

Volunteers with Washington Hospital's Service League have a number of exciting volunteer opportunities throughout the hospital, including:
* Baby Photos - Take baby photos for parents who are very happy to see baby's first picture.
* Patient Feeding - Assist staff with feeding patients who need social interaction, or whose medical condition makes it difficult to feed themselves.
* Emergency Room - Provide emotional support to patients and their families?in the emergency room.
* Community Health Resource Library - Assist visitors in finding answers to their health-related questions.
Service League volunteers also:
* Greet patients and visitors
* Discharge patients
* Deliver flowers
* Sell items in the gift shop
* Keep concerned friends and families updated on patient status
* Assist at the Radiology Oncology Center
* Play piano in the main hospital lobby
* Make puppets for children
* Take families on tours of the hospital's Birthing Center
* Act as coaches for patients in Center for Joint Replacement
* Assist at public lectures and health screenings.

For more information, call the Volunteer Services Department at (510) 791-3465 or visit www.whhs.com/volunteer.


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