UVM Health Network

Elizabethtown Community Hospital Seeks Volunteers for Community Friendship Program

Online volunteer training available February 1 for senior companion program

Community friendship program volunteer walks with senior woman

Elizabethtown, NY – The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital will offer a volunteer training on Tuesday, February 1 for its Community Friendship Volunteer Program. Registration for the virtual session is open and new volunteers are welcome.

The program, launched last fall in partnership with Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, pairs seniors in need with trained volunteers who can provide support with day-to-day activities like gardening, shopping, and errands. There is no age or income requirement for seniors who participate, and the services are provided free of charge.

“We are thrilled to offer this program and encourage new volunteers to participate,” said Julie Tromblee, vice president and chief nursing officer at Elizabethtown Community Hospital. “Too many of the older adults in our community experience isolation and loneliness, especially when we see high community transmission rates of COVID-19. Even though free transportation for medical appointments and grocery shopping is provided by partner organizations, there can still be a need for help around the house and friendship. That’s where the Community Friendship Volunteer Program comes in, and where we can have a big impact.”

According to Mercy Care for the Adirondacks Executive Director Donna Beal, the need for this kind of help is growing. More than 100 Mercy Care volunteers serve seniors in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and the surrounding areas. “In recent weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in referrals to our program for elders in need,” said Beal. “The cold winter months and ongoing pandemic have clearly amplified the isolation older adults experience.”

The Community Friendship Volunteer Program offers non-clinical help for seniors in their own home, and is a complement to Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS). AFHS is a nationwide movement to personalize clinical care to meet the unique needs of seniors and achieve better outcomes.

The February 1 virtual training prepares volunteers to provide support and companionship to older adults in the community. Volunteer sign-up and training registration are available by calling (518) 585-3761 or emailing jgibbs [at] ech.org. More information on the Community Friendship Volunteer Program is available at ech.org.


About Elizabethtown Community Hospital

The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital is a designated critical access hospital and the primary health care provider serving residents in Essex County and northern Warren and Washington Counties in New York.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is transforming rural health care at its main campus in Elizabethtown, NY, at a new emergency department and outpatient center in Ticonderoga, NY, and at six community-based primary health care centers located throughout the region. The hospital is one of the community’s largest employers with 350 employees.

Across the Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga campuses, the hospital maintains two 24-hour emergency rooms, a 25-bed inpatient unit, physical therapy, laboratory, and digital radiology departments; and a variety of specialty physician clinics on a weekly and monthly basis.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed and certified by the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. Our partners include:

Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.