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Red Deerian recognized for volunteer efforts with acute care patients

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal recipient
Roberta Saltvold, of Red Deer, received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her years volunteering at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (Contributed)

A Red Deer volunteer who has been visiting acute care patients for 20 years was one of six Alberta Health Services volunteers to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.

The medals recognize their contributions to the province.

Recipient Roberta Saltvold said her faith led her to assist patients whether it’s by offering them something to read, a drink of water, a warm blanket, or taking them on a walk or a ride in a wheelchair.

“A lot of times I just visit. I provide a smile, a listening ear, some empathy. Many like to reminisce. They tell me about their family, show me photographs,” Saltvold said.

“I certainly find it very rewarding and satisfying. Sometimes I feel that I receive more than I give because certainly, I’ve met many interesting people.”


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Saltvold volunteers with acute care patients on orthopedics, cardiac, surgery, renal, stroke, and palliative care wards at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

She said sometimes staff will ask volunteers to visit particular patients who are feeling down to try and brighten their day. Once she was able to help an elderly lady who was agitated and vocal.

“Her husband happened to be a patient on another unit. They had been married 60 years and I was able to bring him from the other unit to visit her. They sat side by side. He whispered in her ear. She smiled and seemed very happy.

“There are times like that that make it so rewarding. It was a very heart-warming experience.”


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Prior to the pandemic, Saltvold was volunteering about 20 hours a week at the hospital. Now she volunteers two days a week at Villa Marie continuing care facility and one day a week at the hospital.

The medal she received recognized the 10,000 hours she has volunteered at the hospital, the quality care and comfort she provides others when they are at their most vulnerable, and her strong leadership role by mentoring new volunteers.

“I would definitely recommend volunteering. I encourage anyone who thinks they might to give it a try. I’m more than happy to mentor and show them the ropes,” said Saltvold was who also a recipient of the Mayor’s Recognition Award in 2015, and the AHS President’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement for Lifetime Achievement - Volunteer in 2018.

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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