CHILLICOTHE, OH – Many of us want to find a way that we can help improve our community. Those who volunteer at Adena Health System have the opportunity to see firsthand the positive impact they are having.
How big of an impact? More than $350,000 worth just this year alone as the result of volunteer efforts at Adena Regional Medical Center.
The Health System’s Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) recently donated that amount to the Adena Health Foundation to further its work providing additional tools to enhance patient care and support programs in the community, among other efforts. The funds were raised through volunteer efforts staffing the hospital’s gift shop, through an arrangement with Robert’s Medical Uniforms, through a book and gift sale and through an event partnering with Scioto Shoe Mart.
A donation is made annually from the VAC to the Health Foundation to be put back into hospital operations and the community. This year’s amount exceeds the amount contributed in previous years, with additional funds pledged toward scholarships. Another $98,000 was provided to purchase labor beds for the Women and Children’s department, and high-flow oxygen masks for Adena’s youngest patients were among several other purchases supported by the VAC.
The other hospitals in Adena’s family – Adena Fayette Medical Center, Adena Greenfield Medical Center, and Adena Pike Medical Center – also have a dedicated corps of volunteers raising money through gift shop operations and other efforts that is put back into hospital operations and patient care initiatives.
Like many organizations that benefit from committed volunteers, finding enough people willing to contribute a few hours of their time has grown more difficult in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased that difficulty.
With pandemic case numbers from the recent Omicron variant on the decline, however, some of that support is starting to return.
“As COVID cases have decreased, we have seen an increase in the number of volunteers returning,” said Michele Valentine, Adena’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who also oversees the VAC. “We have a great core group that has returned, that is vaccinated and boosted and happy to be back. I am blessed to be part of an amazing group of Adena caregivers working in our volunteer department and to have the opportunity to work with community volunteers who have a heart to serve and give back.”
To encourage that feeling among its current and potential volunteers, Valentine said the Health System and VAC will continue following the most current safety measures and guidelines to maximize participation in gift shop operations and at volunteer events.
Despite the apparent beginning of a rebound in some volunteerism, the need for volunteers across the Health System remains high. At Adena Pike Medical Center, for instance, a volunteer corps that once numbered a couple hundred has dwindled over time to a core group of less than a dozen, several of whom have been doing the work for years. They are volunteers like Juanita Bryant, who has volunteered for 25 years because she was taught to give back to her community, and Judy Fish, who has helped at the hospital in Waverly ever since having a procedure done there.
“I really enjoy it. I enjoy seeing the people and I feel we are doing a lot of good for the community,” Fish said. “I think our hospital has a reputation for being very friendly, very caring about the patients and I think the volunteers have a lot to do with that because we’ll jump in and do whatever we need to do if we can. It’s our hospital, it’s in our community, and we just really need to take part and give back.”
The efforts of Bryant and Fish and their fellow Pike County volunteers have paid off. In addition to their ability individually to enhance the patient experience through pleasant interactions with patients and their families, the Adena Pike Medical Center Volunteer Association Board at the end of 2021 donated $45,000 that was raised to the Adena Health Foundation’s Pike Fund for the purchase of several pieces of medical equipment, patient room recliners for patients and their family members, and for items to enhance services.
Similar volunteer efforts are ongoing at Adena Fayette Medical Center and Adena Greenfield Medical Center while, at the same time across the Health System, the search for new volunteers continues.
Volunteer opportunities within the Health System are available in several areas and offer the chance to meet new people, provide a valuable service and help enhance the care provided to your family, friends and neighbors. Hours vary, allowing an opportunity for volunteers to meet their personal needs while also making a significant impact with the Health System.
To learn more or find the application to start your journey as an Adena volunteer, visit Adena.org/volunteer or call Volunteer Services at 740-779-7526.