The hospital relies on many people to support the sick and injured. While most of the people you will meet in the hospital will be paid members of the staff, other people are volunteers.
Volunteers in the hospital can support the regular staff in many ways so that they can focus on your care, but having contact with more people can increase your risk of infection. Often, they help by making deliveries to patients or restocking supplies.
Here’s what you should know about the volunteers you see in the hospital.
Volunteers receive a lot of training
Before you send a hospital volunteer out of your room, consider that they receive a significant amount of training before they start, including instruction on the following:
- Patient privacy
- Sanitization practices
- Patient confidentiality
- Hospital best practices
Hospitals also require volunteers to stay home when they are sick, further reducing the risk of infection. Many hospitals rely on volunteers to help ease the overworked hospital staff so that more patients can get the care and attention they need while they are in the hospital.
Understand the risk for your situation
Some patients are at a higher risk than others. For example, patients who are in the hospital for a specific procedure and are not immunocompromised, carry less risk.
Talk to your medical care team about the level of risk you have when you are in the hospital. Your team can advise you about whether you should have volunteers or other visitors in your room, or if you should wait until you are feeling better.