Christiana Care’s dedicated and resourceful volunteers make an invaluable contribution to health care in Delaware. Like diamonds, Christiana Care volunteers have a rare and durable beauty.
“We thank you for your time, your warmth, your humor and caring,” said Margarita Rodriguez-Duffy, director, Visitor & Volunteer Services, at the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon April 15 at Deerfield.
Rodriguez-Duffy praised the volunteers for exemplifying The Christiana Care Way. “Their role in providing our patients and families with an exceptional experience, their contributions to our organizational vitality, the sheer number of extraordinary people that give so freely of themselves every day … are diamond-like attributes that help ensure the ability of Christiana Care Health System to be a truly caring partner to our patients and the community we serve.” she said.
During the event, Rodriguez-Duffy and her team recognized 10 volunteers as members of the Hall of Fame for 10 years of service, and 33 volunteers were honored for donating 1,000 to 8,000 hours of service.
“You come from different backgrounds and experiences,” said Rodriguez-Duffy. “But you have at least one thing in common. All of you give your time to help others.”
Volunteers at the event said they receive as much as they give by lending their time and energy to Christiana Care.
“Volunteering is the highlight of my week,” said Dennis Christy of Warwick, Maryland, who is retired from GM and volunteers every Thursday at the First State School. “There is a joy that comes in helping others, and nothing can touch it.”
Mike Eppehimer, MHSA, FACHE, senior vice president, service line operations, thanked volunteers for helping the hospital system live up to its promise to be an innovative, caring partner in health. He pointed out that volunteer contributions helped Christiana Care be named, for the second year in a row, a Top 100 Hospital by Truven Analytics, which rates exceptional health care value through an 11-measure scorecard. Also, for the second year in a row, Truven awarded Christiana Care with the Everest Award, which honors a select group of Top 100 Hospitals that have achieved the fastest long-term improvement over five years.
“We were the only large teaching hospital in the country to win an Everest Award two years in a row,” Eppehimer said. “This is recognition of all your hard work, along with that of our clinical team.”
Among those happy to be part of the luncheon were Andrew Spedden of Pike Creek and Guinness, his German shepherd service dog. Both have survived cancer and volunteer their time at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and the emergency departments at Wilmington and Christiana hospitals.
“Guinness calms people and patients tell him everything,” said Spedden. “They love him as a big gentle dog.”
Also delighted to share her volunteer experiences was Carlene Jackson of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, one of the afternoon’s speakers. Since 2011 she has been a part of the Living History Program, interviewing geriatric patients and others about their families, careers and interests.
“I have had the privilege to interview amazing people with incredible stories to tell,” said Jackson, who writes short histories which she shares with the medical staff so they can better know the people they are treating.She said that she’s been privileged to meet scores of remarkable patients and tell their stories. “To put it simply — the Life History Program has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.”