Compassion & Empathy

How Volunteers Elevate the Patient Experience

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Joining us on today’s episode of the Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast is Amy Buchwald, a longtime volunteer, actor, comedian, producer, and writer. She shares insights into the unique approaches she has implemented over the years as a volunteer to elevate the patient experience. This interview offers many insights from Amy that have the strong potential to motivate others to volunteer and help those in need.

This discussion proves that you don’t need to be a medical expert to make a difference in a patient’s journey. Non-medical experts can utilize their unique skills to brighten another person’s day in various ways.

At the age of 11, Amy Buchwald began her journey into the arts and theater, where she would soon flourish as an accomplished actor, comedian, and playwright.

Traditionally, volunteers without medical expertise can provide valuable support in patient care by assisting with non-medical tasks such as delivering meals, offering companionship, and helping with administrative duties.

They can also contribute to creating a more comforting environment by engaging in activities like reading to patients or organizing recreational programs. Additionally, volunteers can aid in many different logistical aspects, ensuring smoother operations and allowing medical professionals to focus more on direct patient care.

As a seasoned actor, comedian, and playwright, Amy found a way to lend a helping hand while showcasing her artistic talents to make a lasting impact. Growing up in Minneapolis, Amy found solace in the children’s theater company, a space where she could overcome her shyness and find her confidence.

This formative experience laid the groundwork for her later endeavors in volunteering her time and talents to serve patients.

Amy’s compassionate nature led her to home hospice care volunteering. Although lacking formalized medical training, Amy’s creative spirit illuminated a unique path to comfort patients. Armed with research that revealed the power of poetry and music to awaken emotions in patients, Amy crafted an innovative approach. Collaborating with actor friends, she curated a collection of poems, reciting them on a DVD for patients and caregivers to enjoy.

The results were inspiring – patients engaged with the poetry, caregivers found respite, and even Maria Shriver acknowledged the impact of Amy’s initiatives. Amy’s dedication to serving others was recognized when she was honored as Volunteer of the Year by the Home Hospice Network.

Her contributions resonated deeply, demonstrating that compassion and creativity can indeed make a major impact on the patient’s experience.

During this interview, Amy underscores the importance of recognizing one’s strengths and channeling them towards making a difference. She emphasizes the need to set aside personal emotions while volunteering, focusing wholeheartedly on the patient’s needs.

The podcast also offers a glimpse into Amy’s current project, “Hot Flash: The Chronicles of Lara Tate, Menopausal Superhero.” Her artistic endeavors continue to blend her talent with a commitment to creating meaningful connections and leaving a positive imprint on lives.

Amy’s story serves as an inspiration to all, highlighting the immense potential for non-medical personnel to leave an enduring mark on patient care. Through creativity, empathy, and a willingness to serve, volunteers can genuinely elevate the patient’s experience.

Her final message for our listeners is to encourage them to harness their strengths to make a lasting impact in the lives of others, even if that means volunteering as modestly as once a year.

More HX Matters Podcasts

Our podcast is dedicated to transforming the health care experience so that every person can receive and deliver the best care.

You can subscribe to our podcast for free on all major podcast platforms and for video of our interviews, you can always check out the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) on YouTube. Catch up on all episodes of our podcast by subscribing and following us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music and more.

Meet Amy Buchwald

At the age of 11, Amy Buchwald began her journey in the world of theater, where she would later flourish as an accomplished actor, comedian, and playwright. As mentioned, you can learn more about her recent project: "Hot Flash: The Chronicles of Lara Tate - Menopausal Superhero."

Connect with Amy Buchwald