April is National Volunteer Month, a good time to recognize the significant contributions of time and talent made by our volunteers and the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild. Volunteers have performed a vital role within Saratoga Hospital for more than one hundred years, and they are valued members of our Saratoga Hospital family. Although it may be some time before all of our volunteers can return to service due to the ongoing pandemic, we are deeply grateful for their unwavering support from home during this difficult time.
"We miss them every day," says Betsy St. Pierre, MA, CAVS, Director of Volunteer Services. "We felt suddenly bereft without them, and we all came to a very quick, deeper appreciation of everything they do with such steadfast devotion. We can never thank them enough. We've been staying in touch with them, such as through our quarterly newsletter Guilded Edge, and I also write birthday cards for them every month, so they know they are still in our hearts."
So far, Saratoga Hospital has welcomed back about 30% of our volunteers to help in select areas with protective equipment and safety guidelines. They have also received the COVID-19 vaccine. According to St. Pierre, hospital staff had missed volunteers very much, and they were thrilled to see some of them back.
Saratoga Hospital volunteers are former school superintendents, nurses, physicians, schoolteachers, and other professionals as well as stay-at-home moms wanting to give back. When people have good experiences at Saratoga Hospital, they want to give back, too. That giving nature is a common bond that our volunteers share.
Among other things, our volunteers support our front desks at the hospital's main entrance and the Alfred Z. Solomon Emergency Department. They escort patients through the hallways to the Diagnostic Center, or to the Whitney-Hendrickson Cardiovascular & Interventional Suite, chatting with them before their procedures, helping patients feel more comfortable. Our volunteers do a wonderful job lifting some of the load from staff and nurses so they can attend to higher level issues in patient care.
Overall, the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild has served in over 50 areas in our hospital, both on and offsite. More than 200 volunteers have provided upwards of 60,000 hours of compassionate services annually in hospital locations. Several have volunteered in the award-winning Treasures Consignment Boutique and Thrift Shop, as well as in the Saratoga Hospital Gift Shoppe, both of which are now open on a limited basis. Proceeds from these retail ventures benefit Saratoga Hospital. Since its creating in 1948, the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild has also donated millions to the hospital's capital projects and endeavors.
In recognition of its extraordinary contributions to Saratoga Hospital and the community, the Guild has been honored three times with the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) "Auxiliary of the Year Award." Learn more about the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild and how to become a volunteer by visiting SaratogaHospital.org.