Cardiac rehabilitation seemed like the right place for Jim Wildermuth to volunteer. He had completed his rehab at the Goshen Heart & Vascular Center after a heart attack in 2008. That meant he knew the routine, how he could help and what patients might need.
“It just made sense,” Jim said. “I can tell people coming in, ‘I did this, and you’re going to feel a lot better.’”
The retired banker learned about the volunteer opportunity from his wife Carole, who volunteers in Patient Services at Goshen Hospital. She thought Jim would enjoy giving back to a place that had made such a difference in his own recovery.
Peer-to-peer support helps mend hearts
Jim has been a volunteer since 2011. “I volunteer on Friday mornings when we have 10 or so people in a class,” he said. “I enjoy interacting with the patients, hearing stories and encouraging them.”
Jim checks patients’ weight, makes notes in their records, adjusts monitors that heart patients wear or fits pulmonary patients with oxygen. As he chats with patients, he cleans pressure cuffs and exercise equipment.
His greatest satisfaction comes from helping patients believe they will get better as they progress through rehabilitation.
“I’ve been there and done that,” he said. “I know what they are going through.”
Guiding the way to positive patient experiences
Like Jim, Carole enjoys staying busy. After retiring from Middlebury Community Schools, she volunteered with the hospital auxiliary and Patient Services for nine years. Now she helps patients and families navigate their way through the hospital.
“We call it ‘way finding,’” she said. “It’s nice to get to know patients as we walk through the hospital.” Carole also delivers cards and flowers to patients.
The Wildermuths appreciate the simple rewards of connecting with people – meeting new people, hearing about a patient’s children or pet and or chatting about the Cubs game.
To find out more about volunteering at Goshen Health, contact Karla Beasley, Volunteer Director at KBeasley@GoshenHealth.com or (574) 364-2633.
Carole Wildermuth, volunteer at Goshen Hospital for nine years, talking to another volunteer, Herb Mills.
Jim Wildermuth, volunteer in Goshen Heart & Vascular Center’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation department, talks with a patient as he works out. Jim chose this area because he went through rehabilitation himself.