Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Wagga Wagga Palliative Care Volunteers

Yvonne Field loves working with her Palliative Care Volunteers. “I really enjoy it, I’m really positive about it, I just wish we had more volunteers (to meet demand)”.

Based out of the Wagga Community and Nursing Services centre Yvonne supports about 18 volunteers. Some are more active than others, but each volunteer is asked to contribute about 4 hours per week.

Yvonne has 5 days a fortnight as Volunteer Manager, and during the balance of her week she is a Community Nurse. Most of the focus of the volunteer service is on community and home visits, so her role as a Community Nurse helps with referrals and supporting volunteers.

When a community client is referred to the Volunteer Service Yvonne has adopted a practice of assigning a 2-volunteer team to each client. Only one volunteer visits the client at a time, and between them the 2 volunteers manage their availability to maximise benefit and minimise disruption to the client.  

“There might be a period when one volunteer is away on holidays for a week or two, or can’t make their support hours for family reasons, and by having a second person they can work out the cover between them.”

Possibly because of the community-focus of her volunteers Yvonne found that many of the volunteers didn’t know each other, so the monthly meeting is an opportunity for the volunteer group to chat over a cuppa. “This has become as important as the guest speaker”, said Yvonne.

With a new hospital well underway in Wagga there are new opportunities on the horizon for Palliative Care Volunteering. Yvonne is planning her next training course for new Volunteers in June 2015.

Picture courtesy of the Daily Advertiser, from Left – Steve Sutherland, Yvonne Field, Jenny Gorrel and Vicki Morris

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