Rewarding experiences await volunteers at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital


Area hospital hopes to recruit more volunteers

Volunteers are wanted at USC-VHH.

Walk through the front doors of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (USC-VHH) and a volunteer concierge is likely to greet you with a smile and direct you to your destination. It is the volunteers’ role to help people feel welcome and immediately cared for.

USC-VHH has long prided itself for being a warm, friendly place that promotes healing. The 100-plus volunteers who work alongside the hospital’s staff are a part of what makes USC-VHH special. Volunteers, who range in age from 16 to 80-plus, contribute to the hospital’s friendliness.

Some volunteers bring patients their meals and join them at mealtime. Others accompany patients and visitors from one location to another within the hospital. They often also are the last person patients encounter as volunteers get the distinct pleasure of escorting patients to the exit who are leaving the hospital.

The number of hospital volunteers declined at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly senior volunteers – and has not yet reached pre-pandemic numbers, according to John Nelson-Laudun, USC-VHH volunteer coordinator.

“We would love senior members of our community to return as volunteers. Volunteer and staff safety is paramount,” said Nelson-Laudun. “With the increased understanding of COVID-19 and safety protocols, we are confident this is a safe environment for volunteers.”

USC-VHH is bringing on new volunteers to support our patients and help fill new roles in the department. The team is recruiting new volunteers to serve as drivers for its new on-campus concierge shuttle escort program.

Many volunteers share rewarding experiences they have during their service. Some enjoy providing comfort and companionship to patients and their families while they are healing. People contemplating careers in health care get a taste of what it is like to work in a hospital. Many individuals have made lifelong friendships with other hospital volunteers.

Bridget Berg, director of volunteer services and patient experience for USC-VHH, is proud that many of the volunteers have been at the hospital for more than a decade. One volunteer, Dottie Longo, started the day the hospital opened its doors in 1972. She “retired” from her volunteer service in 2020, after 48 years of service when COVID-19 hit California.

“Many of our volunteers have been here for years,” said Berg. “They share that it is a very rewarding experience because they contribute in a positive way to the patients during their stay and because they create great friendships here.”

For volunteer opportunities, please call (818) 952-2215 or email