Tina Pidcock heads up the first palliative care volunteer service for the Cancer Council in NSW. Based in Charlestown the respite service covers the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs. Cancer Council works in partnership and collaboration with the Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospital to support patients at home and in the community.
The majority of referrals are from Calvary Mater Palliative Outreach Team; however referrals can be made from GPs, carers or family members, or self-referrals.
“It’s a really good community based program that can be changed to suit the area. The main focus for the Newcastle program is companionship and respite for carers, however this program can be revised and extended depending on the needs of the local team”.
Tina currently has about 10 volunteers, and support is offered for an initial 6 visits which may be extended depending on the circumstances. Volunteer training included the general Cancer Council training , Accidental Counsellor course and the Palliative Online training.
The Cancer Council Palliative Care Home Volunteer Service has been well supported by local media, including this story on the ABC Newcastle.
Tina came into the role after extensive experience in public and private sector roles, which has included working in Aboriginal health, management, and working in the field of palliative care (see this article published in the Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine).
Since commencing the service in Charlestown the Cancer Council has started another palliative care volunteer initiative in Muswellbrook using a similar model with possible plans for other similar services around the state.
These programs are funded by Hunter New England Local Health District NGO Unit under the Partnerships for Health Program.
Pic: Tina Pidcock at the Cancer Council offices in Charlestown.