Hospital Volunteers: How They Impact Patient Satisfaction Scores and Hospital Performance

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Introduction Hospital volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. High school students, college students, retirees, stay at home moms, clowns and even the four-legged variety can all be found volunteering at a local hospital. These types of volunteers serve for many reasons. Retirees are looking for ways to serve in the community. Volunteering also helps retirees make the transition from full-time employment to retirement. High school students need volunteer hours for their college applications. The four-legged volunteers with their human companions brighten the day of patients that may be missing their pets during a hospital stay. Clown volunteers just love clowning around with patients and staff members. Hospital volunteers…show more content…
“The contribution of volunteers results in an increase in the quality of perceived care in hospital settings (even with simple hand holding, information giving, and other non-medical services). These may be non-clinical and non-union tasks, but they provide a warm, human dimension during a difficult time for the patients and their families” (Handy, 2004, pp. 31-32). “Volunteers assist patients with prompt responses to their non-medical needs and reduce the anxieties of being vulnerable and alone-a common and significant occurrence. As hospitals grow larger and become more specialized and technologically sophisticated, the effective use of volunteers is vital in maintaining a human and personal touch” (Handy, 2004, p. 35). Volunteers and Patients: The Impact on Patient Satisfaction and Quality of Care The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) began in 2006 with a 27 question survey that is distributed to discharged patients. This survey process was originally designed to help patients compare hospitals in their area to be able to make an informed choice for their healthcare needs. In January 2013, five additional questions were added to the survey. Beginning this year, Medicare reimbursement rates to a hospital are tied to the hospital’s patient satisfaction scores. Therefore, hospitals are continually looking for ways to improve

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