Thursday, April 22 | Client Success Stories, Thought Leadership

“It’s Good to be Back.” Volunteers Return to the Bailey-Boushay House

By Netsmart

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we chatted with Stephanie Pietras, Volunteer Manager at the Bailey Boushay House, a Seattle-based provider committed to delivering exceptional and compassionate care to people with HIV/AIDS, as well as end-of-life care for people with ALS and other complex conditions.

 

While COVID-19 forced the group to press pause on their robust volunteer program, as vaccination access increases and case numbers drop, the organization is optimistic about the gradual return of their beloved volunteer staff. 

 

Read on to learn how the organization’s unique volunteers help the Bailey-Boushay house achieve their mission. 

 

Helping clients achieve autonomy  

 

At Bailey-Boushay House, volunteers enter with a unique perspective, with no agenda. Pietras points to their nonjudgmental presence, an approach that “truly psychosocially make all the difference.”

 

Pietras goes on to explore how the relationships between volunteers and residents and clients help individuals at Bailey-Boushay achieve autonomy. 

 

“Autonomy is so important to our residents and our clients. I think our volunteers allow autonomy in a different way through how they build relationships with clients in a way that staff cannot, given the contractual nature of their work.” 

 

Within these relationships is a shared comraderie, a unique bond that allows for the organization to achieve their goal of providing truly compassionate care. 

 

COVID-19 and the volunteer program 

 

For 393 days, the Bailey-Boushay house grieved the loss of their volunteers. 

 

“There was this immediate sense of loss,” explained Pietras. “Our volunteers grieved the loss of seeing us and being a part of our community, the staff and residents and clients grieved the loss of seeing them.” 

 

Despite this challenging, year-long hiatus, April first marked the return of the first volunteer. 

 

Pietras recalls the unignorable energy she felt emanating from the night staff as they clocked out that night, the conversation that turned to the return of volunteers. “I think I saw one last night!” someone exclaimed. 

 

For now, the Bailey-Boushay House plans to bring back one volunteer per week, expanding their ranks gradually until they can again be at full capacity, until they can again be together. 

 

Looking forward

 

As restrictions continue to lift, the Bailey-Boushay House community looks forward to a return to regular volunteer activities. 

 

Residents, clients and staff eagerly await the return of pet therapy, a program that connects therapy teams with organizations in the Seattle area. Soon, the halls will ring with the clip of Doc Marten-clad hooves, as three miniature horses resume their visits. A fan-favorite, these horses provide joy and laughter, often sporting tiaras and bowlers, bow ties and tutus. 

 

In addition to animal visits that offer residents and clients therapeutic touch, the community looks forward to the return of volunteer hair cutters. 

 

“Imagine someone who has been in bed for the last year and a half and has super low self-esteem,” explains Pietras. “To have your hair done and have time to engage with someone else not only builds a relationship—it builds autonomy.”

 

She points to the physical changes evidenced in outpatient clients who receive haircuts: a straighter spine, a more assured stride, a more recognizable version of self in the mirror. 

 

Thank you, volunteers, for your selfless devotion, for sharing joy this and every week. 

 

Meet the Author

Netsmart - color - PNG
Netsmart ·

From the CareThreads Blog

RCM Insights

Denials Prevention and Stable Staffing Strategies for RCM Leaders

Wednesday, January 24 | Thought Leadership,Human Services,Partnerships and Collaboration

Revenue Cycle Management has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. But the major challenges facing RCM leaders are still the same: denials and staffing. In this piece, two RCM experts from Netsmart weigh in on effective strategies for success, using a combination of process and technology for sustainability and growth.

More

The Growth Equation –– Boosting Your Operations to Scale for Growth

Thursday, November 30 | Thought Leadership,Human Services,Netsmart in the Community,Revenue Cycle/Billing

Erica Gregory and Deanna Cerwin, CFO of Resources for Human Development, explore growth strategies highlighting the crucial balance between technology and human resources in expanding behavioral health services. From building a strong foundation to mastering project management, the insights offer a practical roadmap for scaling operations efficiently and meeting the increasing demand for behavioral health services.

More
Organizational Sustainability

Webinar recap: The technology of organizational sustainability

Tuesday, October 03 | Thought Leadership,Human Services,Partnerships and Collaboration

We are living in an extremely competitive time for human services. So, how can we go into "competition mode" by becoming disruptors and innovators? In this webinar, Neal Tilgman, MPA, Director and General Manager of Integrated Care, interviews two clients who have succeeded by balancing growth and innovation with profitability and sustainability. Learn their secrets to grabbing market share using technology, strategic planning, and automation.

More