Volunteer to help patients and their families during their hospital stay
Our volunteers are a diverse group, but they have some things in common: they are bright, enthusiastic, and generous individuals who give their time and energy to help others. Whether you’re a student interested in learning about healthcare careers, an adult gaining practical experience, a retiree seeking new challenges, homemaker, or businessperson wanting to give back to others—we have opportunities for you.
Volunteer Companions serve on Maimonides’ medical, surgical, intensive care, and pediatric inpatient units and provide direct observation for patients who may be mentally or physically incapable of caring for themselves during their stay at the hospital. Many patients cannot have their families joining them around the clock, so these volunteers donate at least 8 hours of their time weekly to provide much-needed companionship. The majority of volunteer companions are enrolled in healthcare programs, such as Nursing, PA, pre-med, Medical Assistant, etc.
Emergency Department Volunteer Program
Emergency Department (ED) volunteers assist Emergency Room personnel in creating a comfortable environment that respects and nurtures the dignity of our patients. Volunteers provide companionship to lonely and anxious patients, serve as a liaison among patients, families, and staff, greet patients and visitors in the waiting area, deliver messages, and explain visiting policies.
We partner with 2 community organizations whose involvement is significant in the ED: Pesha Elias D’Bobov Bikur Cholim and Bikur Cholim Chesed Organization.
Hospitality volunteers work as a part of the patient care team and are responsible for making rounds on assigned nursing units. They provide supplemental non-medical services, such as retrieving pillows and blankets, distributing amenities, purchasing necessary items from the gift shop, and communicating patients’ needs and concerns to appropriate staff.
Labor Coach Support (Doula) Program
A doula, which is Greek for woman caregiver, is professionally trained to serve as a supportive companion to women in labor and provide assistance during and just after childbirth. Maimonides is the only hospital in New York City that provides volunteer doulas around the clock. Volunteer doulas provide non-medical services, such as advice during labor – breathing, positioning, and relaxation techniques. They may also accompany the patient in the delivery room if the partner of the mother-to-be is absent, and she requests a doula’s presence. After birth, doulas provide lactation counseling and serve as liaisons between the patient, family, and medical staff.
The volunteer Doula Program is operated by N’shei C.A.R.E.S., a division of Agudah Women of America. Doula volunteers are assigned to the Labor and Delivery area and are scheduled on a rotating basis, 7 days a week.
Mended Hearts Program
The Mended Hearts is a peer-to-peer support group affiliated with the American College of Cardiology that provides support to heart patients, their friends, and caregivers. Volunteers are either survivors of heart disease or have cared for someone you love with this condition. At Maimonides, Mended Hearts volunteers reach out to other heart patients to give them the encouragement and information only another heart patient can offer.
NICU Cuddler Program
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Cuddlers are volunteers between the ages of 21-75 who are trained to hold and comfort babies in the NICU. A baby in the hospital has unique emotional and developmental considerations, and by normalizing human contact, NICU Cuddlers can help meet some of the infant’s needs. Cuddler volunteers must commit at least one 2-hour shift per week for 1 year.
Pediatric volunteers and students are an integral part of the Child Life, Creative Arts, and Education program, which complements the outstanding care provided in the fully-accredited Maimonides Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn. Volunteers have the opportunity to brighten a sick child’s day by providing recreational materials at the patient’s bedside, play and work creatively in the playroom or teen room, encourage patients to play with games and puzzles, and facilitate social interaction among the patients.
In addition to our individual volunteers, we greatly appreciate the support of 2 organizations. The Chai Lifeline volunteers provide Maimonides’ diverse patients with services to help normalize a child’s routine during a long-term hospital stay. The Starlight Children’s Foundation brings joy and healing through songs, card tricks, clowns, puppeteers, magicians, and musicians.
Good Dog Foundation volunteers bring their dogs to visit patients in our pediatric and psychiatry departments. Pet therapy animals provide physical and emotional comfort and therapeutic benefits to patients.
Postpartum Support Program
N’shei C.A.R.E.S. of Agudah Women of America helps coordinate 34 trained postpartum volunteers to work with physicians and nursing staff to provide compassionate physical, emotional, and informational support for families after childbirth. Volunteers in this program must have significant experience caring for infants.
Along with a lactation specialist, postpartum volunteers assist with breastfeeding techniques and reinforce information from the nursing staff, including the importance of follow-up visits with the patient’s personal physician. Postpartum volunteers also transport babies to and from the nursery and act as liaisons between the families and medical staff.
Refreshment Cart Volunteers
Refreshment cart volunteers from Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim work with the departments of food and nutrition and nursing to provide a unique service that nurtures the physical and mental well-being of patients and families.
Every Thursday, volunteers from Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim light up people’s lives with Sabbath candles they deliver to Jewish patients.
Sabbath Meals and Family Room
Volunteers from Yad Ephraim Ezras Cholim pride themselves on extending care and compassion to the community. They cook and distribute kosher meals and snacks to patients and their familes throughout the hospital to lend support and reduce anxiety. Volunteers from the group distribute supper and Sabbath meals to patients’ families and maintain the Yad Ephraim Family Room at Maimonides.
Welcome Box Program
As part of the Patient Centered Care initiative, the Department of Volunteer and Student Services implemented a welcome program in conjunction with the HASC Center’s Day Habilitation. Services provide people in need of intensive habilitation with programs that foster personal growth and opportunities for physical and social integration within the community. A dedicated staff of supervisors and counselors, along with 30 consumers from the HASC Center volunteer at Maimonides. Volunteers assemble Welcome Boxes (including tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, and hand lotion) that are given to patients upon their admission to the hospital.
The Women’s Auxiliary provides a variety of services, including working with vendors to hold weekly fundraising sales, facilitating newborn baby pictures taken by Charley’s Angels at the hospital, and maintaining the Patients’ Library. Each day, library volunteers visit inpatient units distributing books, magazines, periodicals, and local newspapers to patients and family members.
Apply to become a volunteer
To become a volunteer, please complete the following applicable forms:
All volunteers including adults and high school students are required to complete the Medical Clearance Forms. These forms will be provided after receipt of your volunteer application.
Accepted formats for submission include PDF and Microsoft Word Documents (as attachments). If you mail your application, it should be printed single-sided.
Please complete and return by email to [email protected] or mail to:
Department of Volunteer and Student Services
5014 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11219