April 10 — PROVO — For the past three years, Maureen Holdaway has volunteered in the Gift Shop at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center selling candy, cards, magazines and munchies.
But her hugs come free of charge.
“My husband was a patient here for nine years. We were so impressed with his treatment and care that we felt it was appropriate to give back and volunteer our services,” said Holdaway. “A lot of my time is spent listening and comforting guests who are going through difficult times. I usually end up giving a lot of hugs.”
Holdaway is part of Utah Valley Regional’s Volunteer Auxiliary
. Its members – young, old and everywhere in between – donate thousands of hours of service each year to improve the experience patients, family members and visitors have at the hospital.
Dallan Yeoman, an emergency management major at Utah Valley University, volunteers as a liaison in the hospital’s Operating Room. He spends most of his time with guests and patients’ families explaining procedures, schedules and answering questions.
“I have the ability to make the experience at the hospital better for patients and guests,” said Yeoman. “Generally, people at the hospital aren’t too excited to be there or are feeling some anxiety, nervousness, and fear. I really enjoy comforting them and showing them they have a friend at the hospital.”
The college student recognizes the importance of the services offered by all hospital volunteers. He said they often have the extra time needed to better the experience and healing environment for guests and patients.
Cheryl Call, director of Volunteer Services at Utah Valley Regional, has proof that happens on a daily basis. “When I receive a note or email from staff or a patient or family about how a volunteer has helped them, it just validates what I already knew. Volunteers make a difference,” she said.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the hospital may go to utahvalleyregional.org
for more information. National Healthcare Volunteer Week runs through Saturday.