Volunteers make a difference at Madison VA - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

 

Volunteers make a difference at Madison VA

Su Timmerman shows off some of the bags and masks her and a dedicated team of Volunteers have created to give to Veterans at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.

Su Timmerman shows off some of the bags and masks her and a dedicated team of Volunteers have created to give to Veterans at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.

By Paul Rickert
Friday, April 24, 2020

MADISON, Wis. — National Volunteer Week, April 19th – April 25th, is an important event at VA hospitals across the country. But this year is different. For the majority of our facilities, our Volunteers have been asked to remain home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

This was a very hard decision to make. We love our Volunteers and view them the same as we would any full-time staff member.

For many of our Volunteers, this is the job they took after they retired, enabling them to give back to the community, and enrich the Veteran and Staff experience at our facility.

However, those same years of experience, in addition to their frequent patient contact, put them in high risk categories for COVID-19.

Focused on Volunteer and Patient Safety, we are continuing to assess the situation and are hopeful we will be able to ask our Volunteers to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

At the Madison VA over 430 active Volunteers play a critical role in patient care.

Some of the jobs performed by volunteers include patient escort, manning Information Desks, the Coffee Cart, distributing newspapers, assisting with Blood Drives, organizing activities for inpatients, helping with the My Life My Story Program, and driving patients to and from appointments.

Without our Volunteers, many of these services are not available or greatly reduced.

Several Veteran Service Organizations also maintain a representative on campus, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Disabled American Veterans.

The Freemasons and the American Red Cross also provide significant Volunteer support.

Two groups that have been able to continue to provide limited support are Drivers who help get patients to and from the hospital and a group of Volunteers who sew bags for discharged patients.

Sewing over 1700 bags since they started 2 years ago, the group has shifted to sewing facemasks that will be provided to Veterans as they enter the facility.

Using sterile scrap material that covers medical instruments that the hospital would otherwise have thrown away, the group is making 150 masks a week.

If you are interested in sewing masks for Veterans please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html and follow the sewn face mask instructions.

Masks can be dropped off in laundry bins located outside and left of the main entrance of the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. Please contact the Community Relations office at 608-280-7030 before you come so your donation can be recorded, and we can send you a thank you.

If you are interested in Volunteering, please visit https://www.madison.va.gov/giving/.

For more information about the Madison VA Hospital, visit www.madison.va.gov or www.facebook.com/MadisonVAHospital.

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