Advocacy Program Helps Ease ER Visits at Kenmore Mercy

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May 2, 2012

Navigating through healthcare can quickly become a confusing and frustrating experience for the layperson, especially under the stress of a medical emergency. Kenmore Mercy Hospital, a member of Catholic Health, is working to change that and recently established a patient advocate program dedicated to facilitating a low stress visit to the Emergency Department.

Staffed by hospital volunteers, the program enhances communication and comfort. Volunteers serve as a patient-family advocate. They act as liaisons to communicate between the patients, their families or visitors and the healthcare providers. In addition, the volunteers provide comfort and compassionate listening while protecting patient confidentiality.

“These volunteers don't practice medicine,” said Lynn Overbeck, CAVS, director of Volunteer Services. “Their role is to be advocates for our patients and their accompanying caregivers, to help relieve unnecessary anxiety, and see that patients’ needs are taken care of adequately and promptly.”

Kenmore Mercy is currently recruiting volunteers for the Emergency Department Patient Advocate program. Special training is provided, including learning about Emergency Department policies and procedures, as well as tips for communicating and interacting with people in stressful circumstances.

Hospital officials recently broke ground on a new Emergency Department that will nearly double the size of its existing ER and bring state-of-the-art emergency services to individuals, families and businesses throughout the region.

“The building of our new Emergency Department will help us to provide more efficient and effective emergency care services for our patients,” said Overbeck. “But, the patient advocate program will help us to better care for them.”

Become a Volunteer

Individuals interested in volunteering for Kenmore Mercy should contact Lynn Overbeck, CAVS, director of Volunteer Services at (716) 447-6188.