Volunteer greeters enhance the patient experience

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Like many health care providers, Mackenzie Health offers volunteer greeters to welcome patients and families as they enter the hospital as well as in many departments and services including the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit , various outpatient clinics and community service locations. The response of visitors and patients has always been positive and appreciative.

These encouraging responses led the organization to develop a special greeter role in one of its most visited and often complex areas, the Medical Imaging Department.   This expansion of the volunteer greeter role assists patients and families in navigating the Medical Imaging space and helps patients get to the correct registration area and waiting area, while feeling supported along the way.

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Zina Villamagna and Leonardo (Leo) Cornacchia, both volunteers at Mackenzie Health, are often the first people that patients and families connect with when coming to the hospital for an MRI, CT Scan, Mammogram, X-ray or other diagnostic imaging exam. They provide helpful assistance to patients and families in the department’s waiting room by directing patients and explaining the registration process.

“We are here to help people ensure they are in the right department, that they understand where they need to register and if they would like, we can escort them to the correct exam room. We also explain the ticketing system to them including how it works and what the priority order is. The most rewarding part is helping patients have a more positive experience,” says Leo.

Zina and Leo also have other volunteering roles within Mackenzie Health, but find working in the Medical Imaging Department one of the most satisfying for them. “I really enjoy the fast pace and the difference we make in people’s experience,” says Zina.

Karen Andersen, Director of Volunteer and Community Resources has received many compliments about the expansion of volunteer services in the Medical Imaging, not only from patients and families, but from volunteers as well. “This is a role that volunteers are excited about,” she says. “They enjoy interacting with patients and families and appreciate being given a role where they know that have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day and make their experience a little easier, especially when facing the unknown. They have the opportunity to make a real difference, and they are.”

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Volunteers at Mackenzie Health speak a multitude of languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Urdu, Farsi and Russian. This ability is indicated by yellow buttons they proudly display on their uniform. Both Zina and Leo are fluent in Italian and are able to help a significant number of patients and families who speak this language.

“The presence of volunteers in the Medical Imaging Department provides structure and helps patients and families have a seamless experience,” says Amir Soheili, Operations Director, Clinical Support Services at Mackenzie Health.

“People really appreciate the effort our volunteers make to support them, always with a smile. The feedback we receive from our healthcare team and patients indicates that volunteers like Leo and Zina are essential to the hospital.”