Spinal Cord/General Rehabilitation Unit Assistant


The Spinal Cord/General Rehabilitation Unit Assistant will help make a patient's stay at Cardinal Hill a more pleasant experience by providing personal attention to the patients in an unhurried manner and to relieve the nursing and secretarial staff by performing various duties. This volunteer may be asked to participate in the therapy gym by cleaning equipment, retrieving equipment for therapists, playing games with patients, and encouraging patients.

Special Note: No direct patient care is allowed, including taking temperatures, pulse or blood pressures.

Below is a guideline of duties to be performed while the volunteer is on the unit.  At the beginning of each shift, please report to the Nursing Coordinator for assignments. Generally, assignments will include:

  • Assist in making charts, copies, or helping unit secretary as instructed.
  • Pass water, ice or refreshments to patients with permission from a nurse.
  • Answer the call bell.
  • Answer telephones and take messages.
  • Care for flowers and plants.
  • Visit patients at bedside; read newspapers and books to patients according to their interests.
  • Write letters for clients.
  • Run errands for nurses to Pharmacy, Lab, etc.
  • Transport patients to and from x-ray, therapy, or dining room with permission of nurse.
  • Assist with stocking, cleaning and straightening of the unit.
  • Strip and make unoccupied beds; check for extra pillows and blankets as needed.

Visit each patient. Take your time with each patient. Many patients may be lonely and could benefit  from some companionship. Offer services such as:

  • 'Can I get you a book or magazine to read?'
  • 'Would you like a newspaper?'
  • 'Can I help you with anything?'
  • 'Can I get you anything?'
  • If the patient will be discharged today, offer to help the patient gather his or her items together

Do: Report to Nursing Coordinator Check with the Nursing Coordinator before doing an activity you have not been instructed in. Wash hands, or use the alcohol-based cleanser, before and after contact with clients. Be conscientious; let the Volunteer Coordinator know if you must be absent. Be aware of any patients who may be an elopement risk. Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times. Respect confidentiality.

Do Not: Handle any kind of specimens - including taking specimens to or from the lab. Give food or drink without approval from the client's nurse. Lift a client. Administer medications. Adjust traction. Handle bedpans or urinals. Turn a patient in the bed or remove a patient from the bed. Change linen on occupied beds. Deliver food trays. Exchange food items on clients' trays. Operate or adjust equipment including raising or lowering bed. Accept or chart orders or medical instructions for patientts. Handle narcotics. Obtain patient's signature for treatment. Witness permits or legal documents. Perform any function involving access to confidential information regarding the patient's condition.


Must be 14 years of age or older. Must be a mature, positive, service-oriented individual with emphasis on compassion for patients and visitors. Must have excellent communication skills and be a good listener. Must have a calm, even disposition. Ability to accept supervision and/or criticism. Unit Assistants must be able to push a wheelchair and may be asked to sit or stand for long periods of time.

All volunteers must attend a general volunteer orientation and a department specific orientation.

Adequate conversational English is required in order that the individual be able to take direction, understand how to complete job tasks, communicate adequately with patients and co-workers as necessary, understand and follow safety guidelines and understand the volunteer handbook and all hospital policies. Must be able to read and write.

As a hospital volunteer, you may be exposed to blood, body tissues or fluids, hazardous waste materials, sudden fluctuations in temperature, outside weather radiation, toxins, poisonous substances, dust, chemicals, bodily injury, and loud or unpleasant noises.

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