The calls poured in after a recent article out of Boston put a spotlight on the baby cuddling program, where volunteers comfort infants who are born with drugs in their system.
Roper St. Francis Director of Volunteers, Joan Perry, says, “Nationally there is a need for babies who have maybe been exposed to drugs prenatally, they hear about babies that just need the extra attention who might be fidgety and irritated.”
But only a handful of those volunteer spots exist at local hospitals. Both MUSC and Roper say they have a wait-list of interest/
Perry says, “Whenever an article comes out about it it’s nice to know that the community is so eager to help. We get a lot of calls. A lot of people want to come in and rock the babies.”
These days, most babies stay in the rooms with their mom, so most beds in the nursery stay empty. Roper St. Francis says although they don’t need very many nursery volunteers, there are still plenty of other positions in the hospital that have a much higher need. There are jobs for everyone, from offering hand sanitizer to people as they walk through the door, to helping find a loved one’s room, to showing patients through the halls.
One volunteer, Victoria Krueger, says, “They are such an integral part of the hospital in making you feel like this is an extension of your home. We want to help you, we want you to get better so you can go back home.”
If you still want to be a volunteer and help the newborns, there are other ways to be involved, like the groups that knit hats and blankets for every new baby.
Perry says, “Help support the staff, wipe down the cribs, check on the mothers up in the room”.
For more information about how to get involved with volunteer programs at Roper St. Francis, contact the leaders of the programs listed below or click here.
Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital: Joan Perry, (843) 402-1156
Roper Hospital: Lynne Steele, (843) 724-2080
Mt. Pleasant Hospital: Laurie Glass, (843) 606-7520
Hospice Volunteering: Laurie Beckman, (843) 402-3118
Lowcountry Senior Center: Kimberly Palmer, (843) 762-9555
For more information about volunteering at MUSC click here.