CKHS Volunteers Leave a Lasting Impression on Patients
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. – A trip to a hospital can often cause unwanted stress and fear. However, when leaving the hospital after a procedure or an overnight stay, Crozer-Keystone’s escort volunteers/messengers have the opportunity to bring joy and light to what was once an anxious or stressful experience. April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, when Crozer-Keystone Health System recognizes and thanks its volunteers for lending a helping hand and giving back to patients and the community.
A common trait among volunteers is the desire to stay active and do something meaningful with their newfound “free” time after retirement. Many volunteers are closing the door on their careers and are now able to relax and enjoy life. But as some retirees find, having so much free time isn’t as enjoyable as they had imagined. Volunteering opens up another door for them. It gives them the chance to socialize, keep busy and give back to the community.
There are many different “jobs” available for volunteers to do at Crozer-Keystone hospitals, but one of the most visible positions is serving as an escort/messenger. Taking on the role of an escort or messenger entails several duties, such as discharging patients, delivering flowers and cards to patient rooms, delivering and returning medical records to the information desk, and occasionally handing off laboratory samples and X-ray results to various departments throughout the hospital.
For the past eight years, Tony Capelli, a retired carpenter and Marine Corps veteran, has been an escort volunteer at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. A task as effortless as discharging a patient and witnessing his/her mile-wide smile makes Capelli’s heart sing and reminds him why he started to volunteer. “As a member of the Upper Darby Marine Corps veterans group, our main purpose is to help and give back to our veterans and our community and that’s what I am doing as a volunteer, giving back to those who need my help,” Capelli says.
B.J. Wright, director of Volunteer Services at DCMH, says, “I think a lot of our volunteers stay with us for so long because of the camaraderie. They build great relationships with patients, staff, and each other, and they ultimately feel great about themselves for giving back to their community.”
Judy Lieberman, director of Volunteer Services at Taylor Hospital said, “I would describe my volunteers as caring, fun-loving, dedicated individuals who thrive on giving back to their community. In return, they feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves; they have a sense of purpose which can’t help but enhance their experience and well being. Our volunteers are members of our community and contribute to the friendliness visitors feel when you visit here at Taylor Hospital.”
“I absolutely love volunteering. I’ve been doing it for 14 years now and I hope I can continue doing it for a while,” says Viola (Vi) DiNapoli, a volunteer at Taylor Hospital. DiNapoli was referred to Taylor Hospital’s Volunteer department by a friend.
DiNapoli’s main tasks include discharging patients and answering the phone. “It is so rewarding to help in any way that I can,” she says. “When I discharge patients, my conversations with them can really make the time fly. I’ve made so many great friends, and volunteering has become a great social and bonding experience for me.”
Volunteers are diverse and unique in many different ways. At Crozer-Chester Medical Center, several volunteers who have retired from the workforce have a desire to satisfy that “work-like” fulfillment. Others simply choose to volunteer with a different approach; some for educational purposes, others for building skill sets. No matter what their motivation may be, volunteers perform tasks that add value to the organization in general.
“Our volunteers want to contribute to the common good, out of free will and in a spirit of peace, by generating well-being for patients and staff in our health system,” says Joan Simpson, director of Volunteer Services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Janet Kalup, director of Volunteer Services at Springfield Hospital, says, “Our volunteers make people feel welcome and comfortable. They all have different characteristics but one goal in common, and that is to be as helpful and productive as possible. They understand that being in a hospital can sometimes be traumatic and scary, and they want patients to feel safe and taken care of. I think a majority of our patients enjoy our volunteers; they give our patients a chance to get some relief from their medical diagnosis.”
Being a volunteer is a great way to show that you care and want to give back. It’s evident that Crozer-Keystone’s volunteers love what they do and bring joy to the hospitals they work in. Escort/messenger volunteers give patients their last impression of the hospital, and they work hard to make sure it’s a positive one.
Many Ways to Help
Escorts/messengers are only one of the many diverse groups of volunteers in CKHS hospitals. Other jobs include: Performing blood pressure screenings, greeting visitors and answering phones at the information desk, working in one of the health system’s gift shops, and more.
To learn more about volunteering at Crozer-Keystone Health System, contact:
- Janet Kalup, (610) 328-8825, Springfield Hospital
- Judy Lieberman, (610) 595-6070, Taylor Hospital
- Joan Simpson, (610) 447-6218, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Community Hospital
- B.J. Wright, (610) 284-8186, Delaware County Memorial Hospital.