Volunteer Jackie Engblom feels at home at Pierce Memorial
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Brooklyn - posted Mon., Apr. 1, 2013
Jackie Engblom has been volunteering at Pierce Memorial Baptist Home in Brooklyn for five years. She knows the place by heart, but not just because of her volunteer work. Engblom worked at Pierce for 35 years as a certified nursing assistant. She decided to keep up the connection after she retired. “I figured it's been a good place for me, so I'm volunteering,” she said.
She was at Pierce on March 29 to accompany a resident to a doctor's appointment in Putnam. That's been her primary role as volunteer. Sometimes she drives the residents. If they require wheelchair assistance, she will ride along with them in a van and help push them to their destination. “I go in with them unless they tell me not to or they're having an examination. I feel that I'm there to take care of them,” she said. On occasion she will join residents for lunch outings or shopping excursions to WalMart. It makes her feel good to know that she is helping people. “I really do enjoy it,” she said.
Pierce is an 80-bed facility that houses residents and rehabilitation patients and provides services such as skilled nursing, adult day and convalescent care. Director of Volunteers Anne Hunter tries to let volunteers use their gifts and talents in ways that are beneficial to residents, staff and volunteer alike.
“You bring your own talents and gifts,” she said. “I don't try to adapt a volunteer to my mold. I try to find out what their gift is and place them in an area where they will get the most out of it.”
According to Hunter, Engblom brings many gifts to the position. One is her familiarity with the ways Pierce operates. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Act) privacy rules require that she maintain strict confidentiality regarding information about any patient. Her CNA experience has trained her to be aware of a patient's physical condition, his or her ability to move around, and the guidelines for safe transport of patients.
“I'm used to getting them in and out of wheelchairs. I know the ins and outs from being an aide,” Engblom said. After 35 years, Pierce is her home away from home. “Sometimes I think I make myself too comfortable,” she said. “I don't give orders, but I seem to know the place.”
Plenty of people she's worked with have passed away over the years. It's inevitable given the circumstances. “I think everyone should work in a convalescent home only because they know that this is going to happen,” she said. “It's kind of sad, but it's part of life.” Still, the work gives her pleasure. “It makes me feel good helping people,” she said.
“She's the kind of person who will drop everything to do for others,” Hunter said. “She's very kind.” One night a nurse called her at home to ask if she would pick up a patient at the hospital. Engblom turned off the stove, left her dinner half cooked, and went to the hospital. Otherwise that patient wouldn't have gotten home until after 9:30 p.m. “She's something,” said Hunter, who nominated her for Pierce volunteer of the year as well as L'Oreal woman of the year.
Hunter schedules Engblom according to patient and resident needs for the week. “We keep her more busy than when she was working here,” Hunter said laughing. “She's a sweetie. But a lot of our volunteers are like that.”
For more information about volunteering at Pierce, call Anne Hunter at 860-774-9050. Volunteers are required to take a two-hour orientation covering HIPAA rules and Pierce guidelines and procedures.