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St Andrew’s volunteers enhance patient experience

St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital volunteer services manager Simone James.

Volunteer services manager Simone James joined St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital during a pivotal time, when the volunteer team had shrunk from 90 to 33 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of her first challenges was rebuilding the volunteer program, and as numbers have increased, Simone has been able to reinstate old volunteer roles. She has also created new roles, including playing bingo with rehabilitation patients, and initiating a cuppa and chat with endoscopy and day rehab patients.

“It has been very rewarding for me to introduce a new team of volunteers to St Andrew’s over the past two years and watch them mix with some of the ‘original’ team,” Simone says.

Simone, who believes volunteers help to enhance the patient experience, has also introduced a virtual volunteering program.

Virtual volunteers contribute their time and energy from the comfort of their home, or through craft groups. They help bring Simone’s patient resource ideas to life, including creating breast care packs, cardiac heart pillows, puzzle and colouring book packs, and toys for our paediatric patients.

Volunteer Liz Deckers says: “After my husband died, I needed a goal in life and since I love crafting and sewing, I offered to make toys and other stuff for the hospital. When I volunteer, I feel useful and appreciated.”

Volunteer and change lives, yours included

The friendships and sense of community that develop are a highlight for Simone, who has enjoyed a 10-year career working with volunteers.

Volunteer Karla Quilodran says: “Volunteering lets me help others, feel useful and spend part of my time being part of a community with common goals. At the same time, as an immigrant, I feel integrated into part of the productive society.”

Our volunteers are a valued and integral part of St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, and Simone is grateful for the recognition they receive, from the General Manager and hospital executive team, through to the clinical and support staff.

“I can leave at the end of the day knowing that I have helped a patient, provided a volunteer with a positive experience, or assisted a staff member,” she says.

If you would like to volunteer at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, and change lives, yours included, visit our Volunteer page. St Andrew’s is proudly part of the UnitingCare family – read more volunteer stories in UnitingCare’s Volunteer Impact Report.