UAB Hospital's Healing Words



Healing Words offers patients of UAB Hospital a friendly visitor who can read books or magazines out loud, talk, and engage with during their stay.   Healing Words volunteers can come to the assigned unit between 9am and 6pm on their assigned day. Most Healing Words service lasts for around an hour, sometimes it is a little more, sometimes a little less. Books and magazines can be picked up, by appointment only, from the Volunteer Office (Spain Wallace W102) Monday - Friday from 8:30am - 4:30pm. If you are coming outside of these times, please bring several books/magazines/newspapers. Our Surgical Intensive Care Unit does not allow reading from electronic devices so please prepare accordingly.

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I would like to address a few two things that have come up repeatedly.
1. If you are sick it is expected that you do not come into the hospital. PLEASE notify the area to which you have been assigned and cc me on the email. Many of you are doing a great job of this. Thank you.
2. If the area you visit has low census or the staff says there is no one for you to visit with do one of the following:
a. Be sure you are introducing yourself as Healing Words and are there to read. Saying "Social Work" student has a different meaning to the nursing staff.
b. Be sure you are talking to the nurse manager and asking for a list of patients that may want to have you read to them. There are "gate keepers" (respectfully) that may not understand your program and turn you away before you get to the manager on duty. Don't give up so easily.
c. When you are turned away due to low census, find another unit to visit to fulfill your time. Don't give up. There is self discipline in approaching people with your elevator speech. Try asking permission like, "I am a student at UAB and part of a volunteer program called Healing Words… Would you be willing to allow me to read to you for 10 minutes?" Asking for their help and putting a short time frame around it will get you more positive responses.
d. Other units may be the 8th floor NICU waiting room/unit and the 9th floor TBICU waiting room/unit. Speak to the nurses desk and give your speech and concluding with, "Do you have any patients that would benefit?"
3. Wash your hands often, with soap and warm water. Gel in and gel out of every room. Use your sleeve to touch door knobs and your knuckles to push elevator buttons. Carry hand sanitizer in your pocket. It's just smart and unselfish. Be safe and keep coming! You are growing your people skills and sharing peace with patients. It's a good thing!
4. Bring reading materials with you. It is hard to convince the nurses that you are there to read if you are empty handed. We have some reading material in my office, but no poetry yet. We are working to build a library but for now we need you all to bring a book or magazine with you.