Palliative care volunteer managers start arriving today at Coolangatta Estate in the Shoalhaven for a 2 day conference on volunteer management.
The inaugural Palliative Care Volunteer Manager’s Conference will be held on 7-8 May 2018 and is co-hosted by Palliative Care NSW and the NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteer Services.
In NSW about 1,600 palliative care volunteers visit patients and their family and carers in hospitals and in private homes to provide support.
Each volunteer is part of a Palliative Care volunteer service, and each service has a manager or coordinator that oversees the day to day activities of the volunteers following a request or ‘referral’ from the local Palliative Care team.
Palliative Care teams may have either an adult or a children’s focus. There are about 50 Palliative Care volunteer managers and coordinators across NSW.
At Karinya Palliative Care Unit, David Berry Hospital the Volunteer Coordinator Elanne Thompson oversees volunteers who support people in hospital and at home.
Elanne currently has 51 active volunteers and has recently commenced a new volunteer group at Milton-Ulladulla Hospital. Their ages range from 22-81 years.
“The main role of a Palliative Care volunteer is to support the work of Palliative Care teams by helping to ease distress and anxiety at or near end of life”.
Her volunteers offer carer respite, social support, assistance with shopping or visits to clinic, bereavement support and are famous for their soothing hand and foot massages.
In addition to induction training and ongoing professional development of her volunteers, Elanne has also arranged for some of the volunteers to complete the Mental Health First Aid course and the Accidental Counsellor course.
“It’s important that the manager can provide consistency and continuity to volunteers so that they feel supported”.
“It’s also important that the clinician is confident in the volunteer and that the volunteer is able to support the patient, carers and family”.
Speakers at the conference will include former Palliative Care doctor and Kiama local Dr Michael Barbato.
Palliative Care NSW will host the biennial NSW Palliative Care Conference Riding the Waves of Change in Kiama on the 8-10 November 2018.
Pic: Volunteer Managers gather for a pic at Nan Tien Temple for the 2015 Palliative Care Volunteer Conference.