One of the first two members of a new volunteering group at Wimmera Base Hospital says she feels helpful in the role.
Sandra Bamkin, 72, of Horsham, has joined Carol Hill as a guide greeting people at the front doors of the hospital, and offering information about where to find different services or departments.
Mrs Bamkin said she thought the program had "a lot going for it".
"I call us the welcome wagon of the hospital," she said.
"If we can give people assistance when they first come in - to show them where to go in the grounds and make them more comfortable in the healthcare system - I think it will help a lot.
"It can be rather confusing and daunting (when you go there), and people have worries about certain things on their mind.
"We're not counsellors, but the other day someone was anxious about picking someone up, so I was able to take them to the discharge lounge, and they felt so much better then: By the time they had walked there they had calmed down."
Mrs Bamkin has empathy for people in this situation. At the start of the year, she had to regularly visit a family member who was a patient at the hospital.
The pilot program began in September and will run until November. Over this time, Mrs Bamkin and Mrs Hill will provide mentorship to new volunteers in the role.
Wimmera Healthcare Group acting chief executive Maree Woodhouse said the organisation hoped to recruit more volunteers.
She said it hoped to extend the service to other entrances and waiting areas in its Horsham and Dimboola campuses.
"There are shifts available Monday to Friday between 11am and 2pm, but if the pilot is successful we could expand to the early evening so there are shifts available after work," she said.
"We have visitors up until 8pm most days."
Ms Woodhouse said the healthcare group's board of management strongly supported the program, and it had received positive feedback in the short time it had been in operation.
She said people interested in signing up could contact volunteer program co-ordinator Stephanie Thomson on 03 5381 9347, on Wednesdays and Fridays.
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