The familiar pink and blue coats are returning to Asante hospitals. A year after COVID-19 forced volunteer services to be shut down as a safety precaution, some of the volunteers have begun to return, although in some new roles.
At Asante Rogue Regional and Asante Three Rivers, the volunteers have been double-vaccinated and are serving as supplemental screeners, patient guide services or at the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.
Asante Ashland’s volunteers are being retrained at ARRMC and are expected to be back in the hospital within the next two months, said Lorry Shlitter, who supervises Volunteer Services at both the Medford and Ashland hospitals.
Volunteers are being trained on visitor restrictions and PPE use and, in some cases, going through reorientation.
“It’s nice to see our volunteers back,” said Adam Dockery, liaison for Volunteer Services at ATRMC. “They’re so passionate and we’re so thankful for them.”
Asante lost many volunteers during the yearlong gap, so hospitals will be looking to recruit new volunteers. (Ray Stark, who at 103 is ATRMC’s oldest volunteer, has promised to return.)
When the pandemic is over, the volunteers will again fulfill the roles they had in the past: interacting with patients, serving as liaisons between staff and families, guiding visitors, scanning medical records and, yes, cuddling babies in the NICU.
“Volunteering is not only good for the hospital, but for the volunteers themselves,” Shlitter said. “Giving back to the community and having social interaction with others plays such an important role in everyone’s life.”
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It was so good to see the Auxiliary Volunteers again!! It’s one step closer to being “normal” again! It probably seems scary for them. I’m so happy to see them!