Brockville – Everyone knows that volunteers give tirelessly, and they give from the heart.
“I choose to volunteer because I get to give back to my community and I get to work daily with people with shared interests,” shares Elizabeth Wollaston, a volunteer with the Brockville General Volunteer Association. A volunteer for just over a year, Wollaston volunteers in the Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU) and Emergency departments, as well as being part of the Associations Board of Directors.
With recent financial difficulties at Brockville General Hospital, the support of the hundreds of volunteers is just as important as ever. “The volunteer’s contribution to the hospital culture is significant, and their impact to our patients is invaluable,” Kevin Empey, BGH’s provincially-appointed Hospital Supervisor stated. “Volunteers are often the first hospital representatives our patients see. Without their support, patient care would suffer. Whether they are greeting people at the main entrance, offering comfort at the bedside or supporting staff needs with restocking supplies, their tireless efforts are woven into the fabric that is BGH.”
In 2016, over 300 hospital volunteers contributed over 27,000 hours to support the patient and hospital experience at BGH.
From April 23 to 29, BGH and their Volunteer Association will be celebrating local volunteers during National Volunteer Week, a campaign spearheaded by Volunteer Canada. This year marks the 14th year Volunteer Canada has delivered the campaign, celebrating Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers.
Karen Matte, a former nurse at BGH and the current President of the Volunteer Association enjoys volunteering as it fills the need to have contact with various people. “Volunteers do not provide hands on care but through a caring touch, smile or kind word can enrich the patient experience in different patient areas. Whether escorting patient from day surgery, welcoming patients or visitors as they enter hospital, to serving staff, visitors or others at Eleanor’s or Gift shops, volunteers fill a much needed role.”
But the tireless efforts of the hospital volunteers don’t stop there. As part of the volunteer’s charitable mandate, they also fundraise for the hospital.
“Fundraising is a very important role of volunteers,” explains Matte. “Last year through various events, sales in Gift Shops and Eleanor’s Café we were able to donate approximately $115,000 to BGH. This supported necessary equipment purchases and the Brockville Cardiovascular Program, which is not funded through government dollars. We are also very excited to also be the first major donation for Phase 2 Redevelopment Project.”
As BGH continues to build a stronger future, the support of the hundreds of volunteers remains central to continuing to provide the best patient care.
Celebrating the over 128 years of volunteer service at Brockville General Hospital. Pictured are back row, left to right: Kevin Empey, Hospital Supervisor, BGH; Rod Slack, volunteer; Elizabeth Wollaston, volunteer; Jeanette Despatie, Acting President and CEO, BGH. Front row, left to right: Karen Matte, President, BGVA; Virginia Thomas, volunteer; Barb Lee, volunteer; and Loreen Hughes, volunteer.
• The Brockville General Volunteer Association began in 1889. The Association is now in its 128th year of service in the hospital. • Volunteers work across the hospital in a variety of departments, as well as running the café at Charles St site and gift shops on both sites. • In 2016, the Association’s 303 active and life members put in over 27,000 volunteers hours. • BGH will be acknowledging the tireless work of its volunteers with a celebratory tea on April 27, at the Charles Street site.
• Volunteer Canada – www.volunteer.ca