10:02 AM

Trauma Survivor's Network Wins National Award

MetroHealth’s Trauma Survivor’s Network has won the nation’s top award for health care volunteer programs.

The American Hospital Association bestowed the 2018 Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE Award) to MetroHealth at a ceremony Sunday in Chicago. The Trauma Survivors Network won in the Community Service category.

The Trauma Survivors Network, created in early 2013 by MetroHealth orthopedic surgeon Dr. Heather Vallier and Manager of Recovery Services Sarah Hendrickson, is a volunteer program that connects trauma survivors with trauma patients. The program allows trauma patients to not only receive care for their physical wounds but to receive advice and support from volunteers who have experienced traumatic injuries and who can help them recover and rebuild from the emotional issues that arise with such life-altering injuries.

“Trauma victims are often active people,” says Hendrickson. “They suffer serious injuries during work, outdoor activities or on the road. As they recover, they’re faced with the loss of their mobility, dignity and the life they led before their trauma. The emotional wounds can be just as catastrophic as the physical.

“That’s where our volunteers can step in to help.”

The goals of MetroHealth’s Trauma Survivors Network are to remind suffering patients – and their families – that they do not suffer alone and to provide a valuable, unwavering support system led by volunteers who have suffered in the very same beds as the patients.

In 2017, more than 15 TSN volunteers gave roughly 700 hours of their time, visiting more than 600 patients and more than 1,200 people in total, including families and caregivers.

The HAVE Awards were presented at the annual Association for Health Care Volunteer Resource Professionals conference in Chicago. The Community Service award was accepted by former MetroHealth trauma patient Kim Jaworski, who was inspired to become a volunteer when he was visited at his bedside by a Trauma Survivors Network volunteer.

The HAVE Awards are given annually by the American Hospital Association to showcase outstanding volunteer programs and to acknowledge the value of volunteerism to individual lives and institutions. The winners share key criteria: volunteer programs that, as a result of creativity, innovation and leadership, help improve people’s quality of live and bolster the hospital’s standing in the community.