Due to patient care responsibilities, it can sometimes be challenging for clinical staff to sit with a patient to keep them company. At YRMC, the volunteer Ambassadors help to provide this important level of interaction.
“They really have that extra time to attend to people, give them that extra empathy, that compassion, and just chit chat which is so necessary to help avert any anxiety that the patient might be feeling, or to just have a wonderful conversation. It’s huge.” says Nancy Thomes, Director of Volunteer Services.
YRMC Patient Ambassador Dee LaFlamme says that every day is different as a Patient Ambassador. One day, she’ll enjoy a lively discussion with a patient whose room is full of family and friends. Other days, she’ll simply sit quietly with a patient who wants company. Ambassadors also run errands to the gift shop for toiletries, read aloud to the patient, or help write letters.
“If they want to talk, I’m there to listen,” says LaFlamme. “I’m also there to help if they have any requests. I’m happy to do that.”
LaFlamme says it’s important to take her cues from the patient, “I try not to stay too long. And when I know they’re not interested in talking anymore, I leave,” she says with a laugh. “In my small way, I actually make them feel better, but I tell many people that I get much more out of this than they do.”
For information on volunteer opportunities at Yavapai Regional Medical Center, call:
Volunteer Services, YRMC West, Prescott: (928) 771-5678
Volunteer Services, YRMC East, Prescott Valley: (928) 442-8678