Volunteer of the Week: Lillian Spier, Sunshine Visitor at Montefiore Nyack HospitalBarry Warner

Volunteers play an important role in today’s hospitals. They help the hospital run smoothly and allow the doctors and nurses to spend their time focusing on providing the best healthcare for their patients.

“Lillian is an upbeat person. She has been here for a long time. She loves to talk to people and even with the friends she has met here, everyone loves speaking with her. She came here socially when her husband passed away. She wanted to speak to patients and take them away from ‘why am I here’ and thinking about their illness. She is a lovely speaker, does a lot of things out in the community and is a caring compassionate person. She comes in here once a week to talk to patients and is dedicated and devoted” Director of Volunteers Helen Hayes-Perkins told the Rockland County Times.

“I have a history of volunteering from the time I was a high school kid and it is a very special thing that I like to do. I get a lot out of it personally and I feel very good when I do it. I have been volunteering as a Sunshine Visitor in this hospital for 34 years. I look for things that we may have in common and I try to be upbeat and positive. I tell them that I am their neighbor and try to establish a bond that way and many of the patients are my age. Some of the patients are seriously ill. When I go on a floor, I get a list the names of the patients and their rooms. I knock on the door and ask if I can come in. I try to be very casual and not serious. Some of the patients are very lonely as they do not have any family coming to visit. I am not a medical person and my visit is purely social. I tell the patient my first name and that I have been volunteering a long time. Some are too sick to talk and I have to do a lot of searching around for topics to talk about. I want to bond with the patients, so they feel free to talk to me. Some of the men may have had a war experience, so there was something to relate to. I was an army wife and my husband was in the army for a number of years. I traveled with him for one year when he was in Georgia. I worked in a tool crib in an anti-aircraft place. The patients are very happy to talk about their military experiences. They appreciate my visit and bless me for coming to talk with them” said volunteer Lillian Spier.
In general, hospital volunteers donate their time and skills to help the hospital and community. The mission of any volunteer services department is to serve everyone in the hospital with dignity, respect and equality. The volunteers go through a thorough training program. Besides making a meaningful contribution to the hospital and community, there are many other benefits of volunteering, such as meeting new people, making new friends. Also, volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and bring their own skill sets and talents. In Montefiore Nyack Hospital opportunities to volunteer with patients include: . Receiving orientation and training as a Sunshine Visitor. . Working in select Patient Care Units or the Emergency Department. . Providing Patient Transport Services.

. Distributing books, magazines, playing cards, crayons and coloring books.
. Operating a refreshment cart by offering hot and cold beverages and snacks to patients and families.
. Assembling and distributing an inpatient personnel comfort kit.

Opportunities to volunteer in a non-patient setting include:
. Assisting in family waiting rooms.
. Working in Non-Clinical Departments.
. Assisting at the Gift Shop in the Hospital.

Volunteers have the unique opportunity to see the healthcare system from an inside perspective. They enjoy putting smiles on patient’s faces and getting that warm feeling in their hearts when they help those people who may not be able to help themselves.
For additional information, call the Montefiore Nyack Volunteer Services Office at 845-348-2181.