Press Release

AHA Awards Four Hospital Volunteer Programs

The American Hospital Association (AHA) honors four hospital volunteer programs with the Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE).  The AHA HAVE Awards Program is in its 27th year and highlights the extraordinary efforts of volunteer programs and the positive impact their contributions have on the patients, hospitals, health systems and communities they serve.

The winners fall into four categories: community service programs; community outreach and/or collaboration programs; fundraising programs; and in-service hospital volunteer programs.  Recipients of this year's prestigious awards hail from Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina and Texas.  Representatives from these winning programs will receive their awards at the HAVE Award Breakfast on Monday, April 26, 2010, during the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington.

The 2010 HAVE winners are:

Community Service Programs
Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program
Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, N.C.

The goal of Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program (ASAP) of Carolinas Rehabilitation is to provide competitive and recreational adaptive sport opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities and to support and promote the achievement of personal goals of adaptive athletes.  ASAP provides ongoing adaptive sport and leisure programming including snow skiing, water skiing, kayaking, cycling, tennis, rugby, basketball, golf, fishing and swimming.

ASAP has three licensed recreational therapists on staff, but relies heavily on volunteers to assist with programs and to increase and maintain the healthy lifestyles of people with disabilities.  For example, ASAP's water ski program requires 8-10 volunteers to assist only one skier. The weekly program is four hours each night and totals over 640 volunteer hours for just one of their many programs.  ASAP's Cycle to the Sea is their annual fundraising event where cyclists with disabilities ride from Charlotte, N.C. to North Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Over the course of three days, volunteers on motorcycles and regular bikes flank the cyclists on all sides providing a safety barrier around them.  ASAP demonstrates the dynamic power of volunteers and how they enable people to be successful and, most importantly, healthy after a life-altering injury.

Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs
Knapp Medical Center Auxiliary
Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, Texas

The auxilians at Knapp Medical Center recognized the seriousness of diabetes deaths in their community and applied for a $10,000 grant to create Diabetes and Renal Food Charts.  The existing educational food charts were out of print and not sensitive to the cultural background and literacy of the patients they served.

In collaboration with the hospital's Public Information and Nutrition Services Departments, two user-friendly, bilingual, four-color food charts were developed.  This effective teaching tool was appealing to patients and helped them learn how to understand food choices and how to better manage and regulate their disease.

Once the charts were developed, the Knapp dietitians suggested that the charts be made available for sale to area facilities. The Auxiliary turned the project into a community outreach project and took on the responsibility of production and distribution.  After receiving an overwhelming response locally, it expanded the project to include the entire state.  In addition, the Texas Hospital Association (THA) partnered with the Auxiliary and they advertised the availability of the charts nationally in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 

While fund raising was not the goal of the project, the Auxiliary has generated enough money to recoup the initial $10,000 grant and offset the additional printing.  The project received the THA's 2000 Excellence in Community Service Award and the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Professionals' Extraordinary Award.

Fundraising Programs
"Text for 10 "
Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J.

"Text for 10" recruits teens to become involved in hospital volunteerism.  The project was co-founded by a volunteer and a 14-year old teen, who had lost her father to brain cancer. Through a partnership with other hospital volunteers, they successfully recruited children, adults, families, businesses and corporations, musicians and physicians to participate in a fundraising project for the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center, as well as for Monmouth Medical Center.  

"Text for 10" is comprised of teams of 10 members from five different locations throughout the Monmouth and Ocean counties.  Each team member used their cell phones to simultaneously send text messages to 10 friends and family members asking for a $10 donation.  The event raised $50,000 for the Brain Tumor Center in a matter of minutes and is now an annual event.
 
In-Service Hospital Volunteer Programs
No One Dies Alone - Comfort Companions
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Mich.

In 2004, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital did a survey of nursing staff that care for patients who died.  One of the key findings was the tremendous impact on the nursing staff who were caring for a dying patient who was all alone.  The demands of the nurse's regular rotation of patients and that of a dying patient were extremely stressful.

In 2005, the Volunteer Comfort Companion program "No One Dies Alone" was created.  With 30 trained volunteers on hand, a member of the palliative care team would identify a patient who was alone and near the end of life and would place a volunteer at their side.  The training is unique and combines the development of self-awareness of personal feelings regarding death and dying with gentle ways to assist these special patients.  Volunteers are also educated on what typically happens physically, emotionally and spiritually near the end of life.  The volunteers ensure comfort and peace and eliminate two of the most common fears people with terminal illness have - dying in pain and dying alone. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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