Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) is currently in “desperate need of volunteers," according to DCMH Director of Community Relations David Fry.
In a chat with the Daily News Friday afternoon, Fry said that this time of year is normally slow in regards to attracting volunteers, and 2013 is no exception.
“Many of our volunteers are retirees and seniors,” Fry explained. “When cold weather sets in, they go to Florida for the season, which seriously depletes our volunteer workforce.”
Fry emphasized that people in the community will likely be surprised to learn the diversity of volunteer opportunities available at DCMH.
“Many people assume there are only certain types of opportunities available to which they can contribute their time to the hospital,” Fry said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Volunteers can choose from a range of possible assignments — from jobs at a desk in marketing to jobs whose duties include helping patients in the Cancer Unit complete paperwork and navigate the hospital. There are also opportunities in landscaping and certain special projects and off-campus events, such as DCMH’s yearly Health Fairs in Westport and Greensburg. The hospital also frequently needs help with mailings.
“We’d like to start a hospital ‘concierge’ service, too,” Fry said, adding that such a service probably wouldn’t include more traditional aspects like valet parking. Rather, the functions of a DCMH concierge would involve more-practical functions such as helping patients from the car into the hospital or vice versa, and helping patients keep track of children — among others.
“Of course, such a service would be staffed by volunteers,” Fry added. “These workers would be extremely important in helping improve patient experience and allowing us to be more proactive as a facility in addressing the needs of our clients.”
While the concierge service is an idea in the planning stages, there are plenty of departments who need volunteers now, Fry said.
“We have a transport desk at the back of the hospital with volunteers who welcome patients,” he added.
The director also mentioned volunteers who perform various functions on the hospital’s Surgical Unit and those who work in the DCMH Gift Shop.
“All gift shop profits are channeled back into DCMH special projects,” Fry said. “So volunteering there provides extra benefits to the hospital.”
As examples of items purchased through gift shop profits, Fry mentioned new lead aprons purchased for the Radiology Department and emergency defibrillators at various spots around the hospital.
Fry emphasized, too, that volunteers can basically set their own schedules.
“We’re very flexible with scheduling,” he said. “We have volunteers who work once weekly, some who work several days a week, others who work just once a month and every schedule in between. We work really hard to fit our volunteers’ schedules as opposed to the other way around.”
Although volunteer time isn’t tax deductible, mileage to and from the hospital or volunteer site can be claimed on taxes.
Fry also welcomed groups to call about volunteer opportunities.
“We work with church groups quite a bit,” he said, “and sometimes school groups. We encourage churches and schools to call us; we can certainly find something for you to help us with.”
For more information on volunteer opportunities with DCMH, call David Fry at 663-1220 or call DCMH Volunteer Services Coordinator Vicki Rudolph at 663-1220.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.