A UVA Heart & Vascular Center Initiative

Volunteering Is Good for Your Heart

Posted January 12, 2016

Volunteering keeps you active and adds meaning to your life. It allows you to meet new people, socialize and gain new skills. Particularly beneficial to older people who may find themselves isolated or depressed, volunteering also boosts your spirits because, let’s face it, it feels good to help others.

You may be well aware of these emotional rewards of volunteering, but did you also know that giving back can impact your physical health? A report by the Corporation for National & Community Service reveals a link between volunteering and good health. Specifically, doing for others relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, enhances the immune system and may even prolong your life.

Plus! People who volunteer report:

• Higher levels of happiness

• Stronger self-esteem

• Greater satisfaction with their lives

• A sense of control over their lives

• More energy

You don’t need any special skills or experience, just a positive attitude and a willingness to help others. Inspired? Look no further! There are lots of opportunities for volunteers at UVA Health System.

Volunteer at UVA

In a hospital environment, the caring hands of physicians, nurses and staff are accompanied by those of many dedicated volunteers. At University of Virginia Health System, the number of volunteers tops 1,000, many of them paying forward the support and assistance they received from those at UVA Health System..

The opportunities for those who want to give back to the Health System, or just fulfill a desire to help others, are plentiful and personalized for each individual volunteer. It may be a once-a-month position visiting with elderly patients at the bedside, occasional participation in a special event or a weekly post helping visitors and guests find their way. There are a variety of jobs from which volunteers may choose.

Note that every volunteer must undergo a screening process that includes an application, interview, health evaluation (to test for diseases such as tuberculosis), criminal background check, reference check and orientation. With a Health System ID badge in hand, a volunteer may then begin visiting, comforting and assisting patients.

Find out how you can become a UVA Health System volunteer, or call 434.924.5251. Should you wish to show your appreciation in other ways, learn about alternative options for contributing to the Health System.

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