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Volunteers sought to interact with patients who see few visitors at Carle Foundation Hospital

Volunteers sought to interact with patients who see few visitors at Carle Foundation Hospital

Volunteers 16 and older can give the gift of unhurried time while helping improve patient recovery as part of the Compassionate Visitor program for patients at Carle Foundation Hospital.

Eric Toliver, director, Auxiliary and Volunteer Services, said patients often find themselves in the hospital without many visitors and sometimes feel isolated and even a bit confused. “Human connections are an important part of healing and that is where volunteer visitors can help,” he said.

Kendra Brown, MSN, RN, director, Inpatient Services, Carle Foundation Hospital, initially approached Volunteer Services to see if they could help patients with few visitors. The hospital previously offered a similar program for some patients before the pandemic. Those interested in giving a minimum of an hour a week reading, playing cards or a board game, or simply chatting with a patient should contact Volunteer Services. While volunteer blocks are set for one-hour increments, those interested can sign up for an unlimited number of sessions.

“It’s an opportunity to make a real impact in someone’s life with flexible time for the volunteer,” he said.

Like all volunteers, individuals will be screened and receive an orientation before making their first visit. The care team of any patient visited will provide volunteers with information about the patient’s background and any helpful insight to make the experience most helpful.

Patients receiving care in specialty areas of the hospital such as Pediatrics or the Mother-Baby Unit are not part of the program. Based on the results and volunteer availability, the program may expand to include other regions of Carle Health, Toliver said.

Volunteer Services Coordinator Abby Brooks said, “The more volunteers we have, the more people we can help.”

If you would like to volunteer as a compassionate visitor, visit

Categories: Culture of Quality, Community

Tags: Carle Foundation Hospital, patients, Volunteers