Last updated: June 01. 2013 2:25PM - 206 Views
Karen Martin Staff Writer kamartin@wilkes.net

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Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital's volunteers logged 21,662 hours in 2008, bringing care and concern to the patients who were treated in the hospital and nursing home.
"For any hospital to have over 200 volunteers is wonderful, but to have that many people in our small community who want to help out is phenomenal," Stuart Poston, CEO of Hugh Chatham said.
The volunteer program consists of several different programs. The volunteer knitters number 25 - 30 with regular and seasonal knitters. The program provides hand knit baby caps, chemo caps and prayer shawls to newborns and those patients dealing with the effects of chemotherapy treatments. The hospital gift shop sees hundreds of visitors a year, even area residents looking for a special or unique gift for Christmas. Themed Christmas trees are decorated and sold every year with the profits benefiting the volunteer program. Volunteers man the information desk at the entrance to the hospital, as well as outpatient services, providing visitors with information and family members updates on the progress of the surgical patient. Other volunteers help with the information desk for the imaging center, and on patient room floors. Volunteers can also be found at the Hugh Chatham Nursing Center. Volunteers to the patient rooms offer magazines, conversation, and give voice to patient concerns with the floor manager.
Additional volunteers help in offices with filing, adding stickers to patient files, and with the overall materials management department. The emergency department also benefits from the volunteer services, taking direction from the emergency room director.
"We have wonderful volunteers," Patricia Wagoner, Director of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary said. "We welcome interested individuals to come and talk to us about volunteering. If an individual is passionate about a volunteering in a particular area, they'll come back, and by word of mouth we get more volunteers.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our volunteers, they are wonderful people."
To become a volunteer at Hugh Chatham an individual needs to first fill out an application. The volunteer services department does a criminal background check and you are required to take a PPD (Tuberculosis) test. The new volunteer is given an orientation which provides a general overall picture of where offices are located, such as administration, human resources, and other locations where they might be helping out. The orientation provides information on the dress code for those who choose to work on patient floors and answers any additional questions the volunteer might have.
Hugh Chatham volunteers also include junior volunteers ages 14 - 18.
"We had approximately 35 junior volunteers this summer," Wagoner said. "They come in during the summer months and help us out. Those who are looking to enter the medical field can get a better idea of what the field actually entails. Many of those continue to volunteer even after the school year begins again, helping in the afternoons and on weekends. Last year we had a junior volunteer who logged 1,100 hours in his first year and received a pin at our annual recognition luncheon in April. The average age of our typical volunteer is 'retired', not aged."
The volunteer program raises money through several events throughout the year. The $5 jewelry sale is held twice a year, once in the spring, and once in the fall. (The next one is scheduled for November) A booth is set up at the Pumpkin Festival in late September, the hospital sponsors an apple day, which is a day of massage and aroma therapy, and a Love Light tree which is put up just after Thanksgiving. Visitors can purchase a snowflake ornament to be placed on the tree in honor or memory of a loved one. If the choice is an honoree, volunteers send notification to the individual alerting them to the purchase of an ornament in their name. Other fund raisers for the volunteer program is the yearly membership drive, the hospital gift shop and the Hospital thrift shop downtown Elkin.
"All proceeds from the gift shop and the thrift shop remain here in our community," Wagoner said "We need additional volunteer to work in the thrift shop all the time. The thrift shop is open Mon and Tues. 9:30 a.m. -5 p.m., Closed on Wed., open Thurs. and Fri. 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sat., 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Our gift shop at the hospital is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. with volunteer shifts from 9 - 1 and 1 - 5. We would love to have volunteers that would be willing to work in the gift shop from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. That would allow us to keep the gift shop open through visiting hours, thereby allowing visitors to purchase a balloon or a card for a patient they're visiting as well as possibly a gift for themselves."
"It's a real privilege to work with so many giving and loving people who want to make our hospital a better place," Wagoner said. "We are anticipating needing additional volunteers to fill our needs once the new building is opened and invite residents to become a part of our wonderful team."
The Hugh Chatham Volunteer program has pledged a $500,000 donation to the new facility over the next five years. The pledge to help fund the new building is all made possible by the money raised through the volunteer fund raisers, the gift shop and the downtown thrift shop.

HCMH honored for patient and physician

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has been recognized by Alliant Management Services (AMS), for demonstrating outstanding levels of patient and physician satisfaction. Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital received the honor at Alliant Management Services annual awards ceremony Friday, July 31 at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville.
As a recipient of the Patient Satisfaction Award, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital received top scores on surveys completed by inpatients, outpatients and physicians. Surveys targeted physicians and patients in the Emergency Department as well as other areas of the hospital.
Accepting the award on behalf of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital were Mike Stanley, Board Chair; Stuart Poston, Interim CEO; and Donna Thompson, Trustee.
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has been a member of the Alliant Management Services network for three years. The network includes hospitals and health systems throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina.
An experienced hospital management company since 1978, Alliant Management Services offers hospitals and health systems comprehensive operational, financial and clinical resources, plus the expertise of an extensive network of experienced professionals. Alliant Management Services is headquartered in Louisville, Ky.
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