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updated 7:46 PM UTC, May 21, 2018

BRMH Volunteers Are Priceless Treasures

  • Written by Bob Gabrielson
  • Published in News

(5/2/13) Black River Memorial Hospital (BRMH) celebrated National Volunteer Week with a banquet at Castle Hill Supper Club, Merrillan, on Thursday, April 25. The theme was "Our Volunteers are Priceless Treasures."

All who volunteer with Partners, Hospice, PERS (formerly Lifeline), or transportation were invited to attend.

The first group to be recognized was the Diabetes Education and Support Group (DESG) under the Partners program. Those board members include Margie Fait, President; Janet Barney, Treasurer; Mary Peterson, Secretary; Darlene Hansen, Historian and Mailing List Coordinator.

New Partners members who have joined since last year are Jordan Blaken, Brenda Brown, Lois Corey, Nancy Edwards, Sandy Franks, Janice Grammer, Nancy Hindes, Sara McCullough, Rose Ring, Mary Beth White-Jacobs, and Betty Stasny. Partners "honorary" status was awarded to Pat Nordahl this past year.


Partners receiving hour awards were: 200 hours Laura Pentecost, Tanya Mathews,

Mary Skaar, Joanne Weisheipl, Jan Nordin, Sue Rout and Judy Flick; 500 hours Judy Seguin, Darlene Neisner and Chris Kinley; 2,000 hours Jill Kaphengst, Joanne Capper, Barb Brower and Nancy Lee; 5000 hours Barb Hanson and Mary Van Gorden. Mary Bue received a thank you gift for her service in the Treasurer's position.

The hospice volunteers were the next group to be spotlighted. They spent 615 hours with patients, worked 231 hours doing office work, and spent 20 hours with bereavement.  They traveled 6371 miles to see patients and families. Hospices are mandated by Medicare that at least 5% of direct patient care hours are spent by volunteers, and the BRMH hospice monthly average volunteering time was over 12%.

The top four hospice volunteers were recognized for their volunteering achievements.  Tony Rebarchik made 55 patient visits, for 155 patient care hours and traveled 3,361 miles. Nancy Hindes made 30 visits for 57 patient care hours, plus 20 hours of office and bereavement work, and traveled 644 miles. John Held made 35 visits for 41 patient care hours and logged 1,163 miles. Millie Perner made 24 visits for 47 patient care hours.

In addition to an appreciation gift, those top four volunteers will have their names engraved in their honor on a plaque on the wall of the Mary Larkin Memorial Garden.

Hospice also recognized the dedication of the Tuck In program callers, Joy Sieg and Margaret Legois. They alternated Thursdays making calls to some of the hospice patients to see if they had the supplies and medications they needed before the weekend. Joy Sieg placed 284 calls and Margaret Legois 285 calls. The Tuck In calling program was also recognized by the 2013 Joint Commission national surveyors as a best practice and suggested it be used by other hospices around the nation.

Black River Memorial transportation volunteers were also thanked at the banquet for being on call for urgent transport needs for patients or families in crisis or for unexpected supply deliveries.

Sara McCullough, coordinator of the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) program spoke about the volunteers for that program. "With new technology, some units no longer require a landline phone jack, but rather pick up signals from cell towers. The volunteers have had to learn new installation practices," stated McCullough. "Calls are now being answered at a 24/7 Care Center. This has been beneficial in getting all units tested on a more frequent basis and assured response times." The result has been more service calls for BRMH PERS volunteers. McCullough further explained that the program currently has 262 clients and ten volunteers who are always willing to help, often at a moment's notice. In 2012 the PERS program completed 77 installs and 90 service calls for a total of 167 calls. Four volunteers were recognized for their dedication. Gene Mason handled 23 service or installation calls, Yvonne Richard 36, Tim Hopkins 46 and Mary Van Gorden totaled 62 calls.

The national estimated value of volunteer time for 2012 was set at $22.14 per hour by the Independent Sector group.

"Adding all of our reports together in 2012, our volunteer hours totaled 9,461," stated Cindy Clark, Volunteer Services Manager. "The volunteer contribution to Black River Memorial Hospital and its programs add up to $209,466.54 in donated hours alone."

For more information about volunteering at Black River Memorial Hospital or its programs, contact Clark at 715-284-1391.


Black River Falls


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