From left: Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary second vice-president Bev Wiege

Want to volunteer? Medical transportation program needs drivers

Revelstoke Seniors' volunteer medical transportation program needs drivers to help patients travel to appointments.

The Revelstoke Seniors’ volunteer medical transportation program got a boost from the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary on July 3, getting a cheque for $2,000 to help support the program.

But the program, which links volunteer drivers and those with out-of-town medical appointments, needs your help too.

“We need volunteer drivers,” said Revelstoke Seniors president Ruth Boettger, “As many as we can get.”

Since it started in 2010, participation has increased steadily, and nearly doubled to 88 trips during the 2012–2013 year. They’ve got 18 drivers and need more.

“The program has caught on. They’re talking it up and telling their friends,” Boettger said. “But you can’t ask the same driver to drive all the time.”

Those interested in driving are reimbursed for costs.

“It’s just proving to be very important in the community,” said seniors volunteer coordinator Jean Pedersen.

She said a high number of the visits were for a few particular services – some of which could be offered in Revelstoke, saving local patients many trips.

Pedersen gave some examples, including cataract surgery and follow-ups, cancer treatment check-ups, visits to optical specialists, and some chemotherapy-related treatments.

Are you interested in learning more, and possibly volunteering? Program organizers created this fact sheet, including contact information:

The Volunteer Medical Transportation Program

– A community based program that provides individuals in our community with transportation to out of town medical appointments when they have no other options. We also provide some in town medical rides when local transit, family or friends are not an option.

– We provided drives to Salmon Arm, Armstrong, Vernon, Kamloops & Kelowna.

– Program started in July, 2010.

– Volunteers, who have completed the application and screening process, give the gift of their time and the use of their vehicle.

– We presently only have 18 volunteer drivers (three of whom only do local drives) and several of the 15 drivers for out of town, don’t drive in winter conditions.

– The program pays the drivers for fuel expenses, meal allowance and a little bit for wear and tear.

– The program also carried excess third party liability insurance for its volunteers so they don’t have to increase their insurance coverage in order to volunteer.

– Clients must register with the program prior to requesting use. Anyone in the community can access the program, it is not just for seniors or members of the association.

– Presently we have 90 clients registered with the program – 57 of these individuals have used this service, most of them multiple times.

– In 2010–2011 we provided 14 drives out of town and spent $865 in fuel costs.

– In 2011–2012 we provided 47 drives out of town and spent $3,650 in fuel costs.

– In 2012–2013 we provided 88 drives out of town and spent $6,775 in fuel costs.

– We rely on kind donations from individuals and service clubs to help pay for the fuel expenses.

– The Revelstoke Senior Citizens’ Association hosts the program out of their activity centre and provides office space, telephone, office supplies and financial support as needed.

– We are sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Revelstoke Credit Union through grants to help cover the wages for a Volunteer Coordinator.

– Several service groups have been very generous with on-going financial support to help us provide fuel expenses to our drivers. (i.e.:  The Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary, Knights of Columbus, Eastern Star, Knights of Pythias, Moberly Park Foundation, Revelstoke Legion, Italian Canadian Club, Lions Club & District Health Foundation).

– We are always in need of more volunteers to help with the driving. If anyone in the community who likes to drive and likes to help others would like to volunteer, please contact the coordinator at the Seniors Centre by dropping in Tuesdays thru Fridays from 9-noon, call 250-837-9456 or email: revelstokeseniors@rctvonline.net.

 

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