Hospital volunteers providing smiles and comfort to patients - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hospital volunteers providing smiles and comfort to patients

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They are the men and women that shy away from the spotlight and shine the most when they are serving. Hospital volunteers are oftentimes behind the scenes, but serving a role that could transform a person's hospital stay.

We are recognizing the group from CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital in Lake Charles in honor of National Volunteer Week.

From the moment you walk in the doors at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, volunteers like Al Moore at the front desk are there to give a hearty hello! "We're the first impression that they have of the hospital," said Moore, "I thought it would be a perfect place for me, because I do love people."

Hospital visits oftentimes go hand-in-hand with nervousness and fear, but this crew's job is to make the stay as comfortable as possible.

Whether visiting with patient families in the ICU or sharing some cuddly guests from the hospital's pet therapy program, these volunteers hope to make an ordinary day - extraordinary for the patients they meet.  Susan Stanford brings her two dogs each week to visit with patients.  "Just this week," she said, "a man was down and very depressed, but as soon as he saw the dogs it just kind of lifted his mood and he just was much happier after seeing them."

On the cardiac floor, the Mended Hearts volunteers are heart survivors themselves - offering encouragement in a scary time.  "It's to inspire hope and to give them support for what they're going through as similar experiences to what we've gone through," said volunteer, Michael Richard.

Bridging the gap between medicine and something bigger.  That is what volunteer coordinator Gene Zimmermann says it is all about.  "A caring heart, someone that just has a caring heart and wants to give their time," he said.

50-60 volunteers give their time at the hospital each week, but with a 265 patient capacity, the need is big and help is needed!  "There's no limit to what opportunities we have to give back to our community," said Zimmermann, "give back to our hospital in so many different areas, so we're far from being full."

It is an opportunity to give back and get even more in return. If you want to volunteer your time at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, they probably have something that will fit you just right.  Call 431-7941 to get more information about becoming a hospital volunteer.

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