West Prince health volunteer program launches

Volunteering at hospitals and long-term care facilities in West Prince is helping Beth Mattes support – and get acquainted with – her adopted community.

Mattes, who recently moved to West Prince from Ontario, is one of 11 active members in a new hospital health volunteer program that launched last month. It offers opportunities to volunteer at Western Hospital and Maplewood Manor in Alberton, and in O’Leary at Community Hospital O’Leary and Margaret Stewart Ellis Home.

 “It has been such a pleasure and privilege to spend time with patients and perhaps brighten their day and bring them some comfort,” Mattes said. “I encourage everyone to make the time to volunteer, for even a few hours a week – it’s so rewarding.”

Through an innovative interactive online tool Volunteer with Health PEI Islanders can self register and schedule at which facility, when, and in what role they want to volunteer. There are several different roles that volunteers can take part in, including patient pal, mealtime setup helper, musical healer, information desk guide, hair care assistant, and gardener.

"Islanders show time and again their willingness to help one another, and volunteers provide outstanding support to our patients and our health care community," said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. "This new online registration tool will make it easier for people to give back to their community, and allow for a more streamlined process for our volunteers in West Prince."

There was previously no formalized volunteer program to support hospitals in West Prince.

“The response from patients, staff and volunteers has been very positive so far,” said volunteer services project manager Andrew Ramsay. “Patients like meeting new people, staff appreciate the support volunteers provide in their area, and volunteers enjoy the opportunity to make a difference. We’re finding that many of our hospital volunteers are enjoying the program so much that they are also spending time volunteering in long-term care, but we are certainly looking for more Islanders to volunteer with our program.”

The new volunteer program is a collaboration between Health PEI and Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat. One of the new program’s mandates is to identify and coordinate French speaking volunteers to support the language preference of patients within West Prince, of which approximately 10 per cent speak French. The program has received $72,000 in funding through a Canada-PEI French language Services Grant Agreement.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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