MAIMONIDES VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Volunteer to help patients & families during their hospital stay
Volunteer Companions serve on the Medical Center’s medical, surgical, intensive care and pediatric inpatient units and provide direct observation for adult, geriatric and pediatric patients who may be mentally or physically incapable of caring for themselves during their stay at the hospital.
Many patients cannot have their families joining them around the clock, so these volunteers donate at least eight hours of their time weekly to provide much-needed companionship. Companions work alongside our professional healthcare teams and give compassionate and attentive care to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort and to assist in their feeding.
The program was developed in conjunction with the Department of Nursing, which also conducts a specialized training along with the Departments of Volunteer and Student Services, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, and Metabolic Support. Volunteer Companions are assigned by the Staffing office and supervised by the Nursing staff on the units. The majority of volunteer companions are enrolled in various healthcare programs, such as Nursing, PA, pre-med, Medical Assistant, etc.
The Feeders Program is one of our longest running and most recognized programs. Each year, more than 100 Volunteer Feeders from Jewish girls’ high schools in Borough Park and Flatbush are trained by Nursing Educators, Geriatric physicians, Metabolic Support and Food and Nutrition professionals to assist with feeding the incapacitated.
These young women dedicate their time before and after school, making breakfast and dinner rounds on designated units and working closely with the nurse managers to help patients in need.
Patients not only welcome the assistance, but also are grateful for the conversation and interaction. The girls themselves gain a sense of pride and become greatly inspired by the patients. It can be said that this program is designed to not only nourish the patients’ bodies, but also to nourish their souls. See participating high schools.
Emergency Department Volunteer Program
Emergency Department volunteers assist Emergency Room personnel in creating a comfortable environment that respects and nurtures the dignity of our patients.
The ED volunteers provide companionship to lonely and anxious patients. As a liaison among patients, families and staff, they greet patients and visitors in the waiting area, deliver messages, explain visiting policies and perform errands that will facilitate the work of staff members. ED Volunteers also help transport specimens to the blood bank and escort stable patients around the Medical Center.
These volunteers are friendly, helpful and aid in improving the efficiency of the Maimonides’ Emergency Room. For these reasons and more, ED volunteers are certainly important representatives of the hospital and of the services it provides to its community.
We partner with two community organizations whose involvement is significant in the ED: Pesha Elias D’Bobov Bikur Cholim and Bikur Cholim Chesed Organization.
Volunteers in this program work as part of the patient care team and are responsible for making patient rounds on assigned nursing units. They provide supplemental non-medical services, such as retrieving pillows and blankets, distributing amenities, purchasing necessary items from the gift shop and communicating patients’ needs and concerns to appropriate staff.
Hospitality volunteers work diligently to assist medical staff with non-medical tasks in order to guarantee that patients are cared for courteously and promptly. Volunteers do this by retaining the core values of compassion, dignity, integrity and service at all times. Their role is to provide excellent customer service and increase patient satisfaction.
Hospitality volunteers also serve in Labor and Delivery, Maternity, NICU, and at the Cancer Center. Hospitality volunteers on Kronish 6 Hematology/Oncology unit assist with Six Sigma Project. They are specifically trained to fit the unit’s needs for call bell response. They also assist with conducting Patient Satisfaction Surveys.
Maimonides serves a diverse population that speaks more than 70 languages. To facilitate communication among patients, their families and healthcare providers, we established the Interpreter Training Program in 1997.
Bilingual or multi-lingual volunteers who speak Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hebrew, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Urdu, Yiddish, and more are trained in appropriate use of simultaneous interpretation techniques and medical terminology, and gain an understanding of the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, HIPAA regulations, cultural sensitivity and other components critical to providing quality interpreter services.
Upon successful completion of the training, volunteer interpreters are assigned to Community Outreach, Patient Relations, Ambulatory Health Services, Emergency Department and nursing units to serve as simultaneous interpreters for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients and family members communicating with English-speaking healthcare providers. They also assist with general office work and patient care functions, as well as making telephone calls to schedule and confirm appointments.
‘Let’s Walk and Talk’ Program
For older patients, long-term bed rest and hospitalization can cause a decline in physical and mental abilities that may include loss of muscle strength, balance and endurance, and may lead to complications, such as blood clots and pneumonia. Preventing such occurrences can make the difference between a patient returning home or having to enter a nursing home.
The “Let’s Walk and Talk” Program, created in partnership with the Nursing and Geriatrics Departments, aims to improve the hospital experience of older patients.
There are two goals:
To help maintain patients’ physical functioning throughout hospitalization so they may be discharged from the hospital to live as independently as possible.
To help patients maintain cognitive functioning and prevent the development of confusion during their stay.
To achieve these goals, volunteers lead patients in simple range-of-motion exercises, walk with them and encourage them to move as much as possible and practice safety protocols. They also offer empathetic support, companionship and information for older patients and their families coping with acute illness hospitalization and transition across the continuum of care.
Labor Coach Support (Doula) Program
A doula, Greek for woman caregiver, is professionally trained to serve as a supportive companion to women in labor and provide assistance during and just after childbirth. Maimonides is the only hospital in New York City that provides volunteer doulas on a round-the-clock basis. Both the training and services provided are open to women of all religions and cultures.
The Volunteer Doula Program is operated by N’shei C.A.R.E.S., a division of Agudah Women of America. Doula volunteers are assigned to the Labor & Delivery area and are scheduled on a rotating basis, seven days a week. Not only do they help make the birthing experience more comfortable and memorable, but doulas also add a touch of personal experience and support to new mothers since they too must have given birth to serve in this program.
Volunteer doulas provide non-medical services, such as advice during labor; breathing, positioning and relaxation techniques; massage and other natural pain management. They may also at times accompany the patient in the delivery room if the partner of the mother-to-be is absent and she requests a doula’s presence.
Volunteer doulas provide lactation counseling and serve as liaisons between the patient, family and medical staff. Doulas even give encouragement to fathers who would like to actively support their loved ones during the birthing process. This program has been proven to convey benefits to new mothers, including reducing physical and emotional stress during pregnancy and labor.
Postpartum Support Program
This program, like the Labor & Delivery Doulas, is coordinated by N’shei C.A.R.E.S. of Agudah Women of America. Thirty-four trained Postpartum volunteers work with physicians and nursing staff to provide compassionate physical, emotional and informational support for families after childbirth. Volunteers in this program must have significant experience caring for infants.
Volunteers assist the nursing staff with non-medical activities, such as providing amenities and preparing babies for bathing and discharge. Along with a lactation specialist, postpartum volunteers assist with breastfeeding techniques. The nursing staff provides self-care education to new mothers, but postpartum volunteers are available to reinforce any information and stress the importance of follow-up visits with the patient’s personal physician.
Postpartum volunteers also transport babies to and from the nursery and act as liaisons between the families and medical staff. Ultimately, members of this program give encouragement to mothers and fathers to help them feel comfortable and prepared for discharge and allay their anxieties. With the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality, postpartum volunteers create a bond of support and confidence by establishing a relationship with the mother and father.
Mended Hearts Program
The Mended Hearts is a national peer-to-peer support group affiliated with the American College of Cardiology that provides support to heart patients, their friends and caregivers. Volunteers are either survivors of heart disease or have cared for loved ones with this condition. At Maimonides, Mended Hearts volunteers reach out to other heart patients on NB2 and Gellman 2 units to give them the encouragement and information that only another heart patient can offer.
Pediatric volunteers and students are an integral part of the Child Life program, which complements the outstanding care provided in the fully-accredited Maimonides Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn. They have the opportunity to brighten a sick child’s day by providing a multitude of services daily and assisting the Child Life staff. Volunteers provide recreational materials at the patient’s bedside, play and work creatively in the playroom or teen room, encourage patients to play with games and puzzles, and facilitate social interaction among the patients.
By providing fun activities for pediatric patients, these wonderful and kind volunteers also help parents cope with the stress of having a young loved one in the hospital.
Chai Lifeline volunteers provide Maimonides’ diverse patients with services to help normalize a child’s routine during a long-term hospital stay.
Patients, their families and staff very much appreciate the joy and healing that the volunteers from the Starlight Children’s Foundation bring through their songs, card tricks, and funniest fun. They are clowns, puppeteers, magicians, and musicians.
We are always in need of volunteers, especially those who are interested in providing music, singing, art groups, storytelling, knitting, scrapbooking, or any other special activities.
Pet Therapy Program
Good Dog Foundation volunteers bring their dogs to Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Kronish 6 Oncology unit. Pet therapy animals provide physical and emotional comfort and therapeutic benefits to patients.
Refreshment Cart Volunteers
Refreshment Cart Volunteers from Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim work with the Departments of Food & Nutrition and Nursing to provide a unique service that nurtures the physical and mental well-being of the patients and families.
Volunteers bring refreshments, such as coffee, tea and cookies, to visitors, staff and patients (if allowed by their nurses) on the nursing units every weekday. These cheery volunteers engage in conversation, lend a helping hand when appropriate and provide a caring human touch. Their presence helps to reduce patient and family anxiety and allows the healthcare providers much needed time to focus on quality patient care.
Volunteers with the Refreshment Cart also gain personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment by being able to brighten a patient’s day. These volunteers operate two refreshment carts throughout the hospital each weekday and bring smiles and a pick-me-up to an average of 80,000 people each year.
Volunteers from Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim light up people’s lives with Sabbath candles that they distribute to the Jewish patients on Thursdays.
Sabbath Meals and Family Room
Volunteers of Yad Ephraim Ezras Cholim truly pride themselves on extending care and compassion to the community. These kind-hearted individuals cook and distribute kosher meals and snacks to patients and their family members throughout the hospital in an effort to lend support and lessen anxieties.
The group was established in 2005 with the aim of easing the pain and suffering of hospital-bound members of the Jewish community. As proof of their ultimate dedication of their time and service, Yad Ephraim members distribute supper and Sabbath meals to patients’ families. They also maintain the Yad Ephraim Family Room.
Not only do volunteers bring nourishment to patients, but they also bring much needed cheer, companionship and a listening ear to those who may be lonely or afraid. It is selfless acts such as these that make Yad Ephraim a truly amazing group of individuals.
Welcome Box Program
As part of the Patient Centered Care initiative, the Department of Volunteer and Student Services implemented a new program in conjunction with the HASC Center’s Day Habilitation. Their services are designed to provide persons in need of intensive habilitation with programs that foster personal growth and opportunities for physical and social integration within the community. The HASC Center has put together a group of dedicated staff (supervisors and counselors) and thirty HASC consumers who volunteer at Maimonides.
Volunteers were trained to put together Welcome Boxes that are brought to the medical and surgical units’ supply rooms and are given to the patients upon their admission to the hospital. The content of the boxes includes such items as a box of tissues, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, and hand lotion. The program started in February 2014, and after over 7,000 boxes were put together, the distribution began six weeks later. Since then, about 13,000 welcome boxes annually are delivered to the nursing units to be distributed to the patients in the hospital.
The Women’s Auxiliary provides a variety of services. Auxiliary volunteers work with various vendors to hold weekly fundraising sales at Maimonides. Volunteers also bring extra special joy by facilitating to have newborn baby pictures taken by mom365 at the hospital.
In addition, the Auxiliary volunteers are solely responsible for maintaining the Patients’ Library. They facilitate donations from staff and community members and conduct book sales. Each day, Library volunteers visit inpatient units distributing books, magazines, periodicals and local newspapers to patients and family members.