Thumbs up for over 300 volunteers
If you’ve visited The Alfred at some point over the last twenty years, chances are you’ve been greeted by a very friendly face.
Volunteer concierge Sandy, who has been in the role since 2003, makes it his mission to ensure patients and visitors feel welcome during what might be a daunting experience for them.
“Sometimes I can see that people are a little uneasy when they arrive,” says Sandy. “If they’re an outpatient, I walk them to the clinic, assuring them they will get the best care possible. I try to make people feel comfortable.”
For Sandy, volunteering at The Alfred holds special meaning.
“I do it to repay the hospital for the excellent treatment they provided our son who was treated for leukaemia,” says Sandy, a former team leader at an energy supplier.
“I would always tell my team at work, no matter how bad we think we have it, when you see what some of the people I get to support are going through, it puts everything into perspective.”
Alfred Health has this week been celebrating the contribution of over 300 volunteers, who perform a range of roles, from supporting patients on the wards, to assisting with pet visits to support staff wellbeing.
While COVID has meant traditional volunteering roles were put on hold for some time, volunteers continued to make a difference behind the scenes, with many packing COVID testing self-surveillance swab kits, sewing masks and operating a call centre supporting staff.
But it’s the small things that have the biggest impact, says Sandy.
“I get a lot of pleasure from helping the people. I know the ins and outs of the hospital and enjoy talking and walking with patients.”
And the most satisfying part?
“When patients come back and give me a thumbs up. That’s what it’s all about.”