In 1974, then-President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer week as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of all volunteers. For the past 44 years, charities, hospitals, and communities have taken this time in April to recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service.
This is the week we at LVMC honor our own volunteers. At the hospital and Comprehensive Care Center, we have adult and teen “Blue Coat” volunteers who fill a wide-range of duties for us.
In the medical-surgical waiting room, the Blue Coats comfort our patients when they are frightened and coming in for surgery. They make sure family members are kept updated and work to reduce their anxiety. One volunteer assists in Health Information Management by validating charts. We occasionally have a volunteer in the Emergency Department, working alongside our ED Technician.
In years past at the former hospital site, Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s volunteers were associated with the American Red Cross. They proudly wore the Red Cross badge on their uniform. Though that organization is no longer affiliated in that way with hospitals, some of our long-serving volunteers keep that badge as a historical reminder.
At the Comprehensive Care Center, teen Blue Coats help with bingo games and movie night or stroll with residents in the garden. One adult volunteer at the CCC goes every week to visit with his fellow veterans.
In 2017, the Blue Coat volunteers provided 5,466 hours to Lompoc Valley Medical Center. But that’s not the extent of our volunteer base. Also at the hospital, we have volunteers affiliated with the Lompoc District Hospital Foundation and the Lompoc Women’s Auxiliary. The Foundation is in its 28th Year and the Auxiliary is edging toward its 75th.
Foundation volunteers do the hard work of organizing major fundraisers such as the Flower Valley Golf Classic in May and the Colorthon in the fall as well as hosting community education lectures in the spring and fall. The Foundation raised money to equip and stock the new hospital when it was built, and its members are now in the midst of a years-long effort to renovate the rooms of the Comprehensive Care Center.
Auxiliary members stock and staff the hospital’s gift shop, making it a commercial haven for everything from holiday items to candy bars, flowers, and cards. Their volunteers faithfully open the doors to commerce inside the hospital, giving visitors and staff access to beautiful jewelry, household décor, office supplies, slippers, toys and more.
LVMC also has three Patient and Advisory Council, or PFAC, members. The PFAC was established in 2015 with the goal of improving the quality and safety of the healthcare delivered to patients and families. The Patient Family Advisory Council consists of community members that have voluntarily devoted their time, talent and resources to help deliver care that is patient-centered. Currently, the Patient Family Advisors – Lisa Anderson, Frank Campo and Martin Kaper -- are performing patient rounds to coincide with our quiet at night campaign to ensure patients receive a restful night’s sleep. They are at the heart of our effort to deliver patient-centered care.
Suffice it to say, volunteers are the backbone of our growing community-oriented healthcare system. And we thank them not only during this special week but every single day.