Gil spent a lot of time in Sharp Memorial Hospital while two family members were being treated.
The hospital's care partner program allows a family member or close friend to be a designated care partner for a hospitalized patient. Acting as the patient's advocate, the care partner keeps the doctors and nurses aware of the patient's needs and concerns about their care, and provides companionship during the hospital stay.
"I was a care partner for my own family members during the times they were here getting treatment for their numerous very serious illnesses. So, I'm very familiar with this program," Gil said.
Not every patient has someone available to be their care partner. A patient may be elderly, lonely or may not have visitors to spend extra time with them. For these patients, Sharp Memorial has created a volunteer role called the community care partner.
"Because of my experience and training as a care partner, I volunteer as a community care partner," Gil said. "One big difference between me and a regular care partner is that I'm not as familiar with the patients as a family member or close friend would be. So, the first thing I have to do is start a conversation. The purpose of this interaction is to find out about their needs, concerns and interests, as well as their health situation."
In his role as a community care partner, Gil provides comforting care, such as hand massage or conversation.
"Basically, I'm their 'friend' while they're in the hospital, providing comfort care," Gil said. "Sometimes I'll give them a comfort hand massage. Many times I team up with volunteers that are trained in other roles such as Reiki, Healing Touch or Arts for Healing. On the days when I'm a guest ambassador/patient transporter (another volunteer role I participate with) I'll try to revisit my patients to see how they're feeling. Most of the time, all this attentive care by me and my team helps them feel better about their hospitalization."
Gil and his teammates will even take pictures of flowers and bring a card to patients in isolation or intensive care rooms where they aren't allowed real flowers.
"Although sometimes challenging, this is one of the most rewarding assignments I've had at Sharp Memorial Hospital. I've volunteered in five different roles since joining the volunteer team [in 2012], including being a new member of the Sharp Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Board," Gil said.
For More Information
To learn about becoming a volunteer at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, visit Volunteer Opportunities. If you have any questions, please read our Frequently Asked Questions. To contact the volunteer office, please call 858-939-3588, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our office located in Trailer E (directly behind the Rehabilitation Center) at 2999 Health Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.