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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Volunteers Touching Lives in Wellmont Hospitals

Contributed by Amy Stevens Amy_D_Stevens@Wellmont.org

VOLUNTEERS TOUCHING LIVES IN WELLMONT HOSPITALS

Pushing a beverage cart through hospital waiting rooms. Delivering cards created by local schoolchildren to patients. Helping a new dad pick out a stuffed animal for his infant daughter. These are just some of the caring tasks Wellmont Health System¹s 407 volunteers carry out each day.

During National Volunteer Week, which continues through April 23, Wellmont is saluting those volunteers who serve such an important role in daily hospital operations. Volunteers assist in a variety of departments including reception desks, gift shops, business offices, blood banks and critical-care units to name just a few.

Presently, there are 253 volunteers serving at Holston Valley Medical Center, 102 at Bristol Regional Medical Center, 50 at Lonesome Pine Hospital and two at Hawkins County Memorial Hospital.

"Volunteers offer so much in special touches during their interaction with patients," said Kay Mitchell, Holston Valley¹s director of volunteer services. "They really bring a personal touch into the equation of health care. That makes a big difference."

New opportunities for volunteers at Holston Valley are in the works. Orientation classes will be held April 23 and 25 for teen volunteers at Holston Valley. Volunteering offers teens varied experiences, including contact with patients, families and nursing professionals.

Another new service being developed by Holston Valley volunteers is a music library cart. Patients will be able to borrow CDs and audiotapes from the music library.

At Bristol Regional, volunteers log more than 2,000 hours each month helping out in the diabetes treatment center, skilled nursing unit, medical library, human resources department and a host of other areas.

Some volunteers, like the Happy Hearts Volunteer Group, serve a specific group of patients.

"The members are people who have had cardiac illnesses themselves and then have come back to the hospital to visit cardiac patients and lend support as only they can do," said Linda Legg, volunteer services director at Bristol Regional. "They have been through similar illnesses and can lend support to the cardiac patients as they recuperate.

"The same goes for the wonderful work the Reach to Recovery Volunteer Support Group performs. These are people who have had breast cancer, and they visit new patients diagnosed with the illness and lend support to them."

Additionally, funds raised each year through auxiliary fund-raising projects and gift shops sales are donated to Bristol Regional to purchase medical equipment. An average of almost $72,000 has been donated annually for the past six years. Additional donations are made to the Wellmont Hospice House, Employee Emergency Fund, McGlothlin Hospitality House and a scholarship fund.

Volunteers at Lonesome Pine help out as needed in the hospital¹s units, and they¹ve gone the extra mile by purchasing blinds for the emergency department waiting area, purchasing television sets, DVD players and games for use by patients in the pediatric department, crocheting hats for newborns and providing four scholarships annually to students entering the healthcare field.

Volunteers of any age can serve at Wellmont hospitals. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please call Bristol Regional at 423-844-2831, Holston Valley at 423-224-6040, Lonesome Pine at 276-523-3111 or Hawkins County Memorial at 423-921-7000.
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