Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Volunteers fill Liverpool Hospital with songs from yesteryear

Read the original story by Stacy Thomas in the Liverpool Leader.

Singers are filling the Liverpool Hospital palliative care ward with songs from yesteryear.

The volunteers come in, sit down at the donated piano and play everything from European old-fashioned pieces to classical, love songs, blues, jazz, and waltz.

And at this time of year, Christmas carols are being requested.

All volunteers are doing it for different reasons. Junior doctor Nile Ulgen learned piano as a youngster and said her studies and work had taken her away from it.

She said it was really nice to be able to spend time with patients outside her role as a doctor.

“I realised as a doctor there is not enough time to dedicate to patients,” Dr Ulgen said.

“Now I can be a doctor and spend time with them.”

She donates her time on her lunch break.

Fellow junior doctor Lawson Ung brings his cello when he can during lunch breaks to play at the ward.

Georgina Makdessi works in the hospital library but moonlights as a professional singer.

Mimmi Djordjevic visited her sick aunt in the ward when she saw the piano.

“I hadn’t played the piano for 31 years but when I saw it, knew I had to return to playing,” Ms Djordjevic said.

She attends regular piano lessons and has about 65 songs in her repertoire.

“I’m honoured to play here,” she said.

Palliative care volunteer co-ordinator Arlene Roache said it was a great way to liven and lighten the place.

“Having music playing softens and relaxes people. Everybody can relate to music,” Ms Roache said.

“Playing music creates opportunities to chat to the patient and their family.”

The next stage of the volunteering is to make the concept mobile and take the music into wards and patients’ homes.

Would you like to volunteer? Call 8738 9755.

Pic: Palliative care volunteers Nile Ulgen, Mimmi Djordjevic and Georgina Makdessi. Picture credit: Robert Pozo

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