Volunteer Profile: Connecting Patients with Community Resources
Larkspur resident Mary Valente may not have a lot of personal contact with Clinics patients, but she is certainly making a difference in their lives. For the past nine months, she has volunteered 7-8 hours/week, assisting in the Patient Care Navigation program. Her assignment: to connect patients with community resources to meet very specific needs – a job that often requires “thinking outside the box.”
Here’s how it works. Hannah Bichkoff, Patient Care Navigator, contacts Mary regarding a need. Then, Mary gets to work – mostly from her home – researching on the internet, making phone calls, and filling out necessary forms.
Finding creative solutions
Here’s just a sample of what she has accomplished: enrolling a traumatized child in an equestrian therapy program; arranging for a football camp scholarship for an overweight boy; finding a low-cost movement program for a patient with arthritis; obtaining donated sleeping bags for a homeless family; creating patient resource guides regarding immigration services and swimming programs; coordinating a winter clothing drive; and, making referrals for pharmacy delivery and weight loss programs. Mary also arranges for donations for needed items, such as cribs, car seats, and clothing.
Five years ago, when Mary retired as a human resources manager for a large corporation, she kept busy with her artwork and some teaching, but soon decided that is was time to volunteer in the community. Her daughter, Clinics physician Dr. Tracey Hessel suggested our organization.
“It’s a perfect match for me, and extremely rewarding” reports Mary.“There are an amazing amount of resources out there – it just takes asking, and people really want to help. Plus, there’s a tremendous domino effect: when we discover a new resource, we put the word out to all Clinics providers so that everyone knows about it.”
Our heartfelt appreciation to Mary for her hard work on behalf of our patients!