If you've ever been lost in the halls of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, chances are you've run into the hospital's 2007 Volunteer of the Year Lanny Partain, who makes it his mission to help people find their way.
"There's nothing worse than going into a strange environment and feeling totally lost," Partain said. "I always dedicate part of my time to let visitors know that I am available to take them wherever they need to go."
However, Partain is more than just a friendly face; he is an integral part of Memorial Hermann-TMC's volunteer force. Following his retirement, Partain became involved with the hospital through Lifeline Chaplaincy, a group dedicated to providing compassionate support to the seriously ill and their families. He loved what he was doing, but he felt like he could be doing more.
At the time, Patient Family Centered Care, a new group committed to meeting and exceeding patients' needs and expectations, was forming and Partain was quickly recruited. He was assigned to the transplant unit, where he visits with patients and acts as a liaison between patient family relations and the nursing staff.
"The Patient Family Centered Care volunteers' duties are very special. Not only must they be advocates for our patients, but they also must develop a strong relationship with the staff," said Tere Jackson, a patient relations coordinator at Memorial Hermann-TMC. "Lanny is successful in both areas. He is one of the most genuine, kind and caring persons that I know. He has made a difference in many people's lives, including mine."
Partain, who lives in Pearland, also volunteers with the Trauma Assistance Group where he helps out in any way that he can. His duties include staying with small children, offering support to family members and sitting with a patient who doesn't have any family.
"Each experience is memorable in its own way but one particular traumatic event was the suicide of a young man in his twenties," said Partain. "His family didn't know what was happening, and I sat with them while they were waiting and when the police revealed the details."
Partain serves on the Memorial Hermann-TMC Volunteer Board and is co-chairman of the training committee. He currently is working with the staff to develop additional training materials and resources for the volunteers.
"What makes Lanny so special is that he looks for opportunities to be a kind, good and supportive person," said Marsha Weiss, director of volunteer services at Memorial Hermann-TMC. "He listens with intention; whether he's talking with a patient or a visitor, he hears what it is they need and tries to fulfill that need."
Lifeline Chaplaincy apparently agrees with Weiss' assessment. In 2006, Partain was awarded the Marjorie Bourland Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
For more information about volunteer opportunities at Memorial Hermann-TMC, call 713-704-4141.