Lakeview Health System

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - Volunteers provide warmth and welcome to Lakeview patients

Every day at Lakeview Hospital, members of the community donate their time to help make the hospital a little more welcoming and a little less worrying for patients and their families.

The volunteer roles are varied. Some volunteers work as greeters and gift shop attendants; others work with the Hospital Elder Life Program, meeting with patients to help prevent the onset of delirium. Some volunteers even team up with their dogs – through the pet therapy program – to brighten the day for patients, visitors and colleagues. Hospice volunteers also visit patients in their homes.

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21, 2018. Ted Wegleitner, president of Lakeview Hospital, says it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate hospital volunteers for the thousands of hours they donate annually. He said: “We have a tremendous group of volunteers and we rely on them. I couldn’t be happier with the work they do, day in and day out, across our hospital campus. We are so lucky to have them.”

In 2017, 238 hospital and hospice volunteers at Lakeview donated 17,767 hours of time. Across the four HealthPartners hospitals in the St. Croix Valley and western Wisconsin, 440 volunteers donated more than 31,000 hours last year. That’s equal to more than 15 full-time employees or almost three-quarters of a million dollars of service provided free of charge by community members (using a national rate to estimate the value of volunteer time).

Hand massage is one of the newest volunteer positions at Lakeview. Volunteers undergo training with a physical therapist and then visit with patients, offering relaxing hand massages. Massage can help with pain management and reduce stress.

Other volunteer roles are as varied as pianist (playing the baby grand piano in the lobby), Bistro barista (making coffees, teas and more in the lobby café) and Surgery waiting area attendant (escorting family members and friends to post-operative rooms to be with loved ones).

“Many of our volunteers are retirees who bring a wide range of skills and life experience to their work. We also have a program for students who are considering a medical career,” said Kim Klisch, hospital volunteer coordinator. “All of our volunteers play a necessary role in making the hospital experience the best it can be for patients and their loved ones. We are so thankful for their involvement.”

For more information on becoming a volunteer at Lakeview, contact Kim Klisch at 651-430-8522 or email

Pictured: Mary Ann Litfin, one of the newly trained hand massage volunteers, practicing her technique on physical therapist Cari Parry before visiting with a patient on the medical-surgical unit.