Volunteers at Santa Monica Hospital Comfort Families, Ease Waits in the Emergency Department
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday profiled "Angels in the ER," a group of more than 30 volunteers at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica who work with patients and their families during their time at the hospital emergency department. Program volunteers fill four-hour shifts seven days per week, performing tasks such as comforting families who are concerned about a patient, providing refreshments to people in the waiting rooms and listening to patients' concerns about their treatment or conditions. The program, which was established almost four years ago, requires volunteers to undergo a screening process and then follow and observe another volunteer for 20 hours. St. John's ED Director Russ Kino said that before the program existed, written complaints about long waits and inattention to visitors were common. Since the program was started, Kino said that the number of negative letters the hospital receives about the ED has decreased while the number of complimentary letters has risen, the Times reports (Pierson, Los Angeles Times, 6/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.