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Palliative care volunteer numbers grow in Warrnambool

See the original story by Anthony Brady in The Standard.

South West Healthcare’s (SWH) palliative care unit has been strengthened with the addition of 17 new recruits.

The new faces have just finished their training as palliative care volunteers.

They will join 38 existing volunteers to help provide social support to patients choosing to remain at home during the period of their illness. The new group, who are all females, range in age from their 20s to 70s and hail from Warrnambool City Council, Moyne and Corangamite shires.

SWH manager of community palliative care Andrea Janes said to have so many volunteers will help cast the net far and wide when it comes to delivering the care needed.

“It’s overwhelming,” Ms Janes said.

“When we put the call out for volunteers we were thrilled with the response we got. Before this new intake of volunteers we could only service the Warrnambool area, but now we can extend that into Corangamite and Moyne. We will be looking for another batch of volunteers in June.”

Ms Janes said the volunteers not only ticked the quantity box but also came with plenty of quality.

She said the volunteers bring a range of experiences.

“The calibre of the people we have is incredible,” Ms Janes said.

“The volunteers come for different reasons, some have seen the benefits of the care through experiences with their own families. Others have been involved in the health industry and want to continue that on while others just want to give something back and help people in need and the community.”

Among the volunteers is Heather Hampson, the daughter of the late Marion Shrader, one of the best known volunteers in the history of SWH.

Mrs Shrader’s work as a volunteer was rewarded with a day centre at SWH named in her honour.

Ms Hampson said her mother’s influence had lead her to becoming a volunteer.

“Mum was in the first group of volunteers when palliative care started in Warrnambool,” Ms Hampson said.

“She died in palliative care in Warrnambool and we were assigned a volunteer to help us and we couldn’t have gone through her last months and her death without that help.”

Another volunteer, Amy Baird, last year completed a support course in aged and home and community care.

Ms Baird said she has a huge passion for caring for people.

“I’ve found it (volunteer training) very, very rewarding,” Ms Baird said.

‘’I’m really looking forward to going out in the community and helping out where possible.”

Pic: South West Healthcare staff and the group of palliative care volunteers who graduated this week. The volunteers will now go out into the community to help palliative care paitents in their home. Pic credit The Standard.

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