KRA Staff Volunteer as Patient Advocates

Earlier this year, it was reported that Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center (Bon Secours), one of KRA/VIEW’s (Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare) major work Community Work Experience Volunteer Sites, had hosted a ceremony celebrating the efforts of VIEW participants who had been placed as volunteers at Bon Secours and then were hired by the medical facility!  See http://www2.kra.com/company-news/kraview-volunteers-hiredand-honored/

Recently, as part of KRA’s 5th Annual Community Care Day Campaign (CCDC), Support Our Local Hospitals, KRA/VIEW chose Bon Secours as the site for their 2013 initiative and worked with the Volunteer Services Division to arrange for KRA/VIEW staff to visit with patients and serve as “patient advocates” for a day.

Alisha Bazemore, KRA/VIEW Program Manager, stated “The experience was delightful…and very humbling.  As a volunteer patient advocate, we were responsible for speaking to patients about their care and experiences within the hospital.  Many of the patients were very pleasant and openly provided feedback about their positive experiences as well as their concerns, some of which were ‘easy fixes’.  For instance, one patient requested a menu change.  Janice Savage, Bon Secours Volunteer Coordinator, took each and every concern seriously and made every effort to resolve it immediately.  It was truly a pleasure to talk to the patients and to my surprise, despite being in the hospital, many of them were very upbeat.”

Three KRA/VIEW Career Agents had this to say about their experiences:

  • Cora Brown-Campbell commented, “I was apprehensive of what I might find when I entered the patients’  rooms, especially those in the Stroke Unit.  I guess I expected that their strokes might have had a completely devastating  impact, but I was overjoyed to find them vibrant and in really good spirits despite their experiences.”
  • Timothy Carter stated, “I view a hospital as a building full of professionals who are trained to work together, as a team, to help someone feel better. But, as a volunteer for the day, I was rewarded with the experience of being that ‘non-hospital professional’ who was able to make someone feel a little better. Volunteering was a rewarding experience on many different levels, and it is important that we, as KRA employees, are socially responsible and supportive of the company’s initiatives to give back to our communities.”
  • Kathy Confer commented, “It was important for me to experience firsthand what many of our KRA/VIEW customers do as volunteers at the Hospital. We were greeted by a former customer, and now employee at the front desk, who told us that working there for the past year has been ‘a dream come true’ for her, which made us feel really good.  Our group decided to visit the patients together, and the response we received was very uplifting and motivating. One patient brought us to tears with her story of how Bon Secours saved her life when she had been turned away at another facility.“

Tiffany Haynes, KRA/VIEW Lead Instructor and CCDC Coordinator for the company-wide initiative, as well as the KRA/VIEW Program site, concluded, “In true KRA spirit, we displayed teamwork and provided superb ‘customer service’ for the patients. The number of KRA/VIEW volunteers was severely dwarfed by the number of patients for whom we had to advocate, but we did not ‘break a sweat’!  In fact, we successfully devised a plan of action to meet with every patient in the designated units.  We supported each other in a ‘leap frog’ kind of system, in which one volunteer would visit another volunteer’s patient if his/her visit was taking a little longer than expected.  Mrs. Savage was so pleased with our efficiency, positive attitude, and advocacy efforts that she invited us to come back to volunteer on a continuing basis, and without doubt or hesitation, we agreed to do just that!”