Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme

Media releases

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 November 2019

Goulburn/Queanbeyan/Cooma/Bega/The Eurobodalla and surrounding areas.

Palliative care users asked to help shape new volunteer support services

People receiving palliative care, their families and carers are being offered the rare opportunity to have a say in the design of a proposed palliative care volunteer service in their community.

Palliative Care NSW are currently developing a project to ease the burden of end-of-life care by harnessing the power of volunteers. In order to ensure the project meets community needs the organisation is seeking guidance from people with a lived experience of palliative care, either as a client or a carer.

Kate Bowman, Policy Officer for Palliative Care NSW’s Volunteer Support Services, said that there are currently around 2,000 palliative care volunteers around the state, but only a handful of them are currently operating in Southern NSW.

“We know palliative care volunteers are really good at providing compassionate and confidential support for people with a life-limiting illness and their carers and we want people all across the state to have the same access to these services,” Kate explained.

“We want to hear from people who are being visited by the community palliative care team so we can plan the new volunteer services according to their needs.”

Palliative care volunteers are highly trained for their role and offer their clients a wide range of social supports. They are especially valued by people who are socially isolated which Kate tells us can be more common in rural and regional areas.

“If you are receiving care you might want a volunteer to visit your home to have a cup of tea and a chat, or you might want help to get out and about for a few hours,” Kate said.

But she stressed the benefits also extend to the client’s family, providing crucial respite for carers who are often burnt-out with worry.

“Carers might want volunteer support so they can have few hours break. They might want a volunteer to stay with their loved one while they go have a shower or get to the hairdresser or whatever without worrying about leaving their loved one alone,” Kate explained. “Having additional volunteer support means that carers can practice a little bit of self-care. It’s the little things that can make a big difference.”

If you are receiving palliative care, or care for someone who is, Kate would love to hear from you to ask a few brief questions about what kinds of support you might need.

“Prioritising the needs of the community is crucial. We want to make sure we hear directly from the people who would benefit most from this service.”

Kate can be contacted by phoning 02 8076 5603 or by emailing kate@palliativecarensw.org.au.

Photo: Kate Bowman from the Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Program