Last Spring I completed several years of medical care here at Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) and at several of the hospitals in Ottawa. Being diagnosed for a potentially life threatening illness was traumatic, as most readers will attest to. Finding your way around the otherwise unfamiliar hospital added to the stress. Having a smiling face who eased the stress by solving some of the simple problems has been invaluable to me. I felt the need to “pay back” some of the special care that I received and became a volunteer at KDH. The folks in the red jackets are the ones who offered me that special care over and above the excellent professional medical care. “We” are the KDH auxiliary who volunteer throughout the hospital offering directions to various services and support to the hospital staff in areas such as making the beds and offering warm blankets in the ER. We serve meals and conduct one-on-one visits with people in interim long term care. We care for the gardens. We also operate the hospital Coffee Bar and Gift Shop. We use our hard earned funds from that and a community garage sale to purchase equipment annually that will directly benefit the patient, based on a KDH wish list. We do many other things to help the hospital and its’ patients have a positive experience at a difficult time.
I am only one of the “we” and am writing this because I have noticed how frequently we have NOT been able to provide volunteers in these various areas.
Presently, we have 57 active volunteers giving their time to KDH. This number is down from the usual 70 due to university students going back to school and there are always those that need to retire after many years of much appreciated service. We could offer opportunity to give back to more than 70 if they were available. With reduced numbers, it’s more difficult to replace volunteers while they go on holidays or need time off. Right now, we need extra volunteers in all areas. High school students, at least 16 years of age, are welcome and are asked to provide at least 60 hours of volunteer time. They are a great help in the ER waiting area on weekends and after school. However, the biggest demand is during the week day and early evenings. The usual volunteer shift is only 4 hours once a week.
It takes a while to be vetted to ensure that each volunteer meets the Provincial health and security requirements. Don’t let that scare you away.
I find my 4 hours a week very satisfying. I am disappointed that there are so many periods in the week that we can’t offer continuous support. Won’t you join us?
Information and an application form can be found at www.kdh.on.ca/careers-volunteering/auxiliaryvolunteering/ or call 613-258-6133 or email [email protected]