In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we are happy to honour and thank over 800 Volunteers who contribute their time and energy to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation (TBRHSF).
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. This holds true for Katja Rintala, a 2nd year Psychology student at Lakehead University, and 6-month volunteer for the Hospital Elder Life Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).
Katja has been volunteering for as long as she can remember. For her, having fun and enjoying the company of others is the greatest benefit of volunteering. Katja volunteers once a week for the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), providing stimulating interaction, meaningful activities, and motivational conversation to participating elderly patients.
Katja started volunteering at TBRHSC to broaden her horizons and discover future opportunities in the healthcare field, and since joining the HELP team, it’s become much more than that. “My goal is to rejuvenate our elderly patients, but at the end of every shift, it feels like I’m the one who has been revived,” she says. The most rewarding part of volunteering for Katja is hearing that there has been progress made with patients that she has interacted with, and that her efforts have assisted in sending someone back home to their family.
Katja says volunteering has helped shape her future ambitions. “This volunteer role has supported me in solidifying my dreams of working with the elderly population. It is so important to keep our patients active and motivated. I see the need for elderly care and recognize the difference we can make in the lives of these patients.”
Katja feels that volunteering has supported her in growing as a person, and allowed her to share her passion for helping others.
When asked what impact she feels she makes on patient experience, Katja simply states, “A lot of the patients tell me that I have a great smile, but the greatest impact that I can have on the patients, is seeing them smile back at me.”
Meet Dianne Lampi, one of the many volunteers of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation who make a positive and impressive impact on donors, patient, and staff experience. Dianne began her volunteer journey just one year ago but has jumped into the experience with both feet. Dianne has been an outstanding example of what makes volunteers so amazing.
Dianne works in the front office helping our Donor Relations Specialists take and process donations, as well as volunteering at events like the Elekta Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction. She also sits on the Event Committee for the Re/Max Queen of Hearts Ladies Golf Classic. Dianne is known around here for her positive, happy, willing-to-help-in-anyway attitude.
Dianne moved to Thunder Bay five years ago. “I believe that one of my life purposes is to volunteer my time and energy to admirable causes,” she says. “I feel connected in my community through volunteering at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation office weekly and at special events to raise money for healthcare.” Dianne believes that volunteering gives people a sense of fulfillment. “Healthcare affects all of us directly and indirectly and if I can assist in this area then I am doing what I should be. I have many family members and friends who utilize all of the healthcare services that are made possible with the Foundation’s role.”
Every Friday afternoon, you will find Dianne in our Donation Centre. She provides a great service to the donors here in Thunder Bay and those in the region who may call in. Without amazing volunteers like Dianne, the Foundation really wouldn’t be able to operate as smoothly as it does.
Dianne has enjoyed her experience with the Foundation so much that she says she will continue to assist in any capacity that she can at this amazing organization. “We all need to assist in any way possible to keep our healthcare system running at top notch service! If you can donate your time or monetarily it will assist everyone in need and you too or your loved ones may need the services in the near future.”
After his recent retirement, Dave Van Wagoner was looking for an opportunity to doing something meaningful with his time. Having had a positive experience with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), he became interested in becoming a volunteer Patient Family Advisor (PFA). “I liked the idea of being an advisor and not an advocate,” says Dave.
During his career, Dave worked as a civil servant with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism in Thunder Bay and Kenora. He subsequently worked as an Industrial Development Officer with a funding secretariat managing funding from senior government (Provincial and Federal).
As a PFA for the past 5 years, Dave has been involved in many areas of the hospital. He has provided education to staff in Diagnostic Imaging (DI) and Emergency (ED). He is a member of a variety of Councils including DI, as well as the Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC) Leadership and ED Focus Council. He has also been involved in the development of patient and staff education materials and hiring panels for leadership positions. You can readily say that Dave is a PFA willing to participate where needed and share his expertise.
When asked “What is your biggest contribution since becoming a PFA,” Dave says it is hard to answer because he feels that everything he does as a PFA is important and his input is respected and valued.
Dave says being a PFA has been a great way to learn more and actually assist in the betterment of what goes on in the hospital. He has found it to be a great opportunity to meet a lot of staff that he would have not normally met and says he is amazed at the professionalism of the staff at TBRHSC.
“I like the fact that TBRHSC respects the PFAs in the sense that they are part of everything, and the fact that what PFAs do matters.”