Celebrating volunteers at private hospitals

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Private hospital volunteers are being celebrated this week as part of National Volunteer Week, PH News spoke to some of the amazing volunteers helping out at hospitals around the country.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (Lifehouse) has around 130 volunteers, who assist with running music programs, offer pet therapy, right through to people who help out in the wig salon.

PhD candidate and medical student hopeful Joey Michael been a ward volunteer at Lifehouse since the very first day they opened three years ago.

“I’ve always loved volunteering and this is an amazing opportunity for me. I want to be a doctor so I thought, why not immerse myself in the environment now,” said Mr Michael.

His typical day at Lifehouse involves wandering around the hospital, talking to patients, making cups of tea and coffee, restocking supplies and doing whatever else he can to help.

“The strength of the patients never ceases to inspire me. Many patients are positive and they seem to lend strength to each other. And the staff are wonderful, there’s a smile around every corner,” Mr Michael said.

Western Hospital (the Western) in Adelaide has around 50 volunteers, who help out in the reception area, escort patients to their room or even help out in the café.

Marilyn Miller has been a volunteer at the Western for almost three years and works one day a week at the reception desk.

“The staff at Western treat me like an equal and they make us feel like we are part of the team and valuable,” said Ms Miller.

Ms Miller is a retired registered nurse and volunteering at the hospital has given her an opportunity to use her knowledge and skills.

“I enjoy meeting new people and with my nursing background I find I can help make patients feels comfortable as they are being admitted,” Ms Miller said.

Barry Gower is a familiar face to many at the Western, after volunteering for more than 17 years.

After his own great experience as a patient 19 years ago he jumped at the chance to join as a volunteer.

“I enjoy meeting new people and I love the hospital and the staff at the Western, they are always so kind and considerate,” Mr Gower said.

Mr Gower works one day a week and can be found on the welcome desk. He also assists patients to their room on admission and helps with directions and general enquiries.

Both Western and Lifehouse celebrate National Volunteer Week with a morning tea or lunch event for their volunteers and present them all with certificates for the dedication and time they give up to help their community.

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