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Published on September 11, 2018

Gundersen St. Joseph's respite volunteer program

Gundersen St. Joseph's looking for volunteers for new respite volunteer program

Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics is expanding its commitment to the community through a new respite volunteer program which aims to provide support to the area's at-home caregivers.

The respite volunteer program recruits volunteers and connects them with families and individuals to provide in-home support for community members with health limitations. The program will provide temporary, short-term relief to the care recipient and their caregivers and builds on the strengths and resources of the family, providing a meaningful and life-enriching experience for the recipient.

"Respite is a vital part of the continuum of supportive in-home services," says Toni Tengblad, chief of Clinical Operations at Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics. "It adds an additional level of support to families and may reduce the likelihood of caregiver fatigue."

Duties of a respite volunteer include companionship, reading, and socializing while the regular caregiver runs an errand.

"We've seen a growing need for this type of support in the community so we're doing what we can to help," says Ashley Cavallino, volunteer coordinator at Gundersen St. Joseph's. "Caregivers will get the chance to take a break knowing that the one they're caring for is in good hands. All respite volunteers will go through our volunteer recruitment process which includes background checks, references and training."

Ashley Cavallino, Volunteer Services at Gundersen St. Joseph's

Cavallino, a native of Hillsboro, took over as volunteer coordinator back in June and has high aspirations for the volunteer program. "I found a passion for volunteering while volunteering for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), it gave me first-hand experience of the part that all of us can play in making our communities a better place. Volunteering is an incredibly fulfilling experience," says Cavallino. "I'm proud to play a part in providing fulfilling opportunities for volunteers and connecting them with those in our communities who need support – enriching every life along the way."

Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, be willing to commit to four hours per week, have a positive attitude and pass a background check. For a full list of requirements or to apply as a volunteer, contact Ashley Cavallino at (608) 489-8171 or Heidi Cornell at (608) 489-8289 or visit

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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