Two years ago, volunteers wearing cheerful yellow vests began walking the halls of Michigan Medicine hospitals. Their mission: helping patients and families find their way to appointments or to visit family members. This was the official launch of the HOPE Ambassador program, coordinated by the Office of Patient Experience.
Now the program has more than 120 volunteers and helped more than 80,000 patients and families in 2019.
“I encountered people who were very nice and very lost and others who were just trying to find their car,” said one HOPE Ambassador. “I loved that the patients were friendly and approachable even when they were sick and lost in this big place.”
Often, patients are stressed and confused by the complex network of halls, elevators and floors within the main academic medical center. That’s where the ambassadors step in — many of whom speak multiple languages (among the volunteers are individuals who speak 13 different languages).
“It was so helpful to have someone guiding us out of the hospital. This support made my last impression so positive and comforting. We couldn’t have done it without the help of the ambassador,” stated a patient on one of the feedback cards provided by the ambassadors.