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Jul

30

The UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital Launches New Senior Companion Volunteer Program

Elizabethtown, NY – The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital announced today the launch of the Community Friendship Volunteer Program, a new initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of seniors. Recruitment is underway for the first volunteer training, set for late September.

The program, developed with Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, pairs seniors in need with trained volunteers who can provide companionship and support with day-to-day activities like gardening, shopping, and errands. In its first phase, the Community Friendship Volunteer Program will focus on serving elders in the Town of Moriah.

“Too often seniors in our community experience social isolation and loneliness,” said Julie Tromblee, vice president and chief nursing officer at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, “and this can have drastic effects on their health. Our partner organizations provide transportation for medical appointments and grocery shopping; but some seniors may need additional help around the house or just a visitor from time to time. That’s where the Community Friendship Volunteer Program comes in, and where we can have a big impact.”

According to Mercy Care for the Adirondacks Executive Director Donna Beal, adults over age 65 are projected to make up about 30% of Essex County’s population by 2030. “Elders are a valued part of our community, and we want to help empower them to age in place more successfully. By helping older adults at home, together we are helping to make Essex County a good place to grow up and grow old,” said Beal.  

The Community Friendship Volunteer Program offers non-clinical support for seniors at home, and is a complement to the hospital’s Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS) initiative. AFHS is a nationwide movement to personalize clinical care to meet the unique needs of seniors and achieve better outcomes. “The AFHS and Community Friendship Volunteer Program help ensure that we are supporting seniors both here at the hospital and in their own home,” said Tromblee.

The hospital’s Community Friendship Volunteer Program has no age or income requirement, and the services are provided free of charge. Family, friends, and seniors themselves can request a volunteer match.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Mercy Care for the Adirondacks will host a volunteer training at the Moriah Fire Department on September 22 and 23, 2021. The two-day training will feature presentations on healthy aging, community resources for seniors, and COVID-19 precautions and protocols. Mercy Care Friendship Volunteers will be on hand to share their experience and expertise.

“We’re excited to engage the first class of volunteers,” said Community Friendship Volunteer Program Coordinator Jodi Gibbs. “Thanks to Mercy Care and other partners, we have incredible resources for volunteers and we’re thrilled to be able to offer this program at no cost.” More information can be found at ECH.org; and assistance with volunteer applications and registration is available by calling (518) 585-3761.

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About Elizabethtown Community Hospital

The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital is a designated critical access hospital and the primary health care provider serving residents in Essex County and northern Warren and Washington Counties in New York.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is transforming rural health care at its main campus in Elizabethtown, NY, at a new emergency department and outpatient center in Ticonderoga, NY, and at six community-based primary health care centers located throughout the region. The hospital is one of the community’s largest employers with 350 employees.

Across the Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga campuses, the hospital maintains two 24-hour emergency rooms, a 25-bed inpatient unit, physical therapy, laboratory, and digital radiology departments; and a variety of specialty physician clinics on a weekly and monthly basis.  

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed and certified by the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives.  Our partners include:

Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.

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