Mended Hearts Open Forum

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trying to volunteer

  • 1.  trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-24-2018 08:28
    Ive been trying to get set up to volunteer at my local hospital to talk to other patients going through open heart surgery. A very nice gentleman called me( so sorry I forgot his name) and said he would get things set up for me and call me back, but I have not received any call back. Its been over a month since we spoke. I would really like to work with MH and start volunteering some time to hopefully help others like me. Can anyone assist in getting me set up?

    chris rhoads
    maintenance director
    land clearing specialists
    beaver PA

  • 2.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-24-2018 09:33
    Hello Chris,
    One of the first things is you need to meet with the hospital volunteer coordinator.  He or she will be able to  give you the requirements to be a volunteer. If you don't meet those requirements first the rest is mute.
    The if you can meet with the Charge Nurse of the Cardiac care unit. 
    Please be prepared to be convincing about what you are trying to do. Believe it or not many hospitals and providers have not heard of Mended Hearts. Many also do not feel cardiac rehab units are necessary. 
    Good luck and thanks in advance for wanting to join the ranks. You can and will make a difference in people's lives. 
    Don't let the hospital politics sway you. It will slow you down at times but hang in there.
    Your fellow volunteer,

    Chapter 395

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  • 3.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-25-2018 09:58
    Hi Chris,
    It took me almost 2 years to get a group started here in Lancaster Pa.  I tried 3 different hospitals, meeting with either the volunteer director or rehab director. When I finally got Lancaster General to agree to have an informational meeting, I asked the Regional Director to get involved, which he did, now Lancaster General is 100% behind our visiting program, which has been in place since last November. If you have a passion for heart event patients, then don't give up. Hospitals are in business to make money, so it's important to show them that MH visiting can lower re-admittance rates, and in our case that patient satisfaction surveys scores have risen since we've been visiting.
    Hang in there brother,

  • 4.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-25-2018 10:12
    Hey Chris,
    Hoping your day is going well. This is Virginia not Elliott. For some reason my profile lists my Hubby instead of listing me. I don't know what I did when I set up the profile. 😁 Snyway, do you know of any local Mended Heart Chapters near you?  I hit in rather quickly through my local chapter. They processed my initial paperwork and then I was sent to the hospital's Volunteer Office. The remainder of my paperwork was completed there and I was scheduled for volunteer training.

    It has been most rewarding and a blessing.  The cardiac ICU nurses are ALWAYS happy to see me and when I am a no-show they follow-up to make sure that I am okay. Most importantly, it is such a blessing to bring hope and encouragement to the heart patients (and the nurses too).  I hope you will have an opportunity to give heart patients hope and encouragement soon.

    Virginia Cuff
    Mended Hearts
    Chapter 35


  • 5.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-26-2018 08:59
    Hello to all.
    I was asked by the hospital's Manager of the Cardiac Rehab Program to start a chapter around 2002. The buzz phrases now are to "reduce readmissions" and "patient and family centered care". Research has shown that a visit in the hospital from a Mended Hearts volunteer, reduces readmissions. Perhaps you can find a copy of the article and share it with the people with the power to say "yes" to starting a chapter. I strongly believe that we are an important part of the team.

    Best of luck and keep the passion.


    Robyn Shaw, Past President
    Greater Portland Maine Chapter #339
    The Mended Hearts
    Cape Elizabeth ME
    (207) 523-0883

  • 6.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-26-2018 09:07
    It just occurred to me that perhaps your cardiologist or surgeon might put in a word or two to help express the benefits of peer support. It's rare to have someone on staff that has experienced the shock, fear, depression, anger etc. first hand. It also helps family members tremendously. Referring people to the The website, as you have discovered, may also help your cause.

    Robyn Shaw
    Cape Elizabeth ME
    (207) 523-0883

  • 7.  RE: trying to volunteer

    Posted 08-27-2018 14:29
    Having done this for a number of years now, I find it astonishing that hospitals are often not very supportive of this endeavor in spite of evidence of the positive outcome. sadly, your ability to crack into a particular hospital is highly dependent on their internal policies and the attitude of decision makers. It's not always based on the best interests of patients. I've been in multiple meetings between hospital administrators and our MH chapter, some highly supportive and some won't give the time of day, then there's the ones who string you along but no closure ever comes to fruition.

    Create a presentation, just as a business would and get the decision makers to sit down. If possible, line up some internal hospital support ie doctors and nurses, if you have the luxury use the best "sales" people you have for this presentation.. then give it your best shot. And if unsuccessful, don't hesitate to ask why so hopefully you can avoid pitfalls in future.

    All else fails, go back a year later and try again. Chances are you'll be talking to someone different.