Palliative care volunteers typically offer social support and companionship but, in some cases, they might also offer complementary, supportive or diversional therapies. Some examples of such therapies are massage, acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, reiki, art, music or pet therapy. To what extent service providers include these types of therapies as part of their service is largely unknown.
Getting a broader understanding of just what types and how many different therapies are offered will be the subject of new research. Conducting this research will be Austyn Petroccitto from Macquarie University, on internship to Palliative Care NSW. Currently a psychology major studying for a Bachelor of Social Science, Austyn is looking forward to digging his teeth into this project. His focus will be on understanding the challenges and benefits in providing these types of services and include the perceived impact this has on volunteer satisfaction and patient well-being.