When Palliative Care NSW completed their mapping exercise in 2014 Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) was the only health district to have no palliative care volunteers.
Today the WSLHD Supportive Care Volunteer programme celebrated its first anniversary where it all started – the Mt Druitt Supportive and Palliative Care Unit. Volunteer Manager Kylie Clark and Volunteer Coordinator Glenda Golledge recognised the ongoing contribution of volunteers from the first training group in November 2016, and also awarded certificates to volunteers who recently completed in October.
Two volunteers, Kaitlyn and Tina, offered brief insights into their experiences in supportive care. Tina commented:
"(At first) my friends said “why do you want to do this? You’re going to cry, it’s going to be sad, it’s going to be lonely – why do you want to put yourself in that situation? And to be honest it’s been completely the opposite – it’s been rewarding…There have been a lot of situations where I haven’t known what to do, I’ve sat there and I’ve thought to myself “what can I do?” … In those moments I have thought to myself I should just love and be here – and that has helped a lot”.
Sally Greenaway, Director of Supportive and Palliative Medicine also spoke at the event:
“I have been impressed by the calibre of the volunteers and their quiet presence certainly makes a difference to the patients, families and staff. It is a great contribution to the patient care and to the culture of the ward and our service in general”.
Volunteers initially commenced in the Mount Druitt Supportive and Palliative Care Unit and at Ward A71 Blacktown Hospital, expanding into Westmead Hospital in August 2017. Some 44 Supportive Care Volunteers are now engaged across the 3 sites as well as in community visiting roles.
Learn more about the WSLHD Supportive Care Volunteer program by downloading this Infographic:
Pic: WSLHD Supportive Care Volunteers Kaitlyn (L) and Tina (R) with Volunteer Coordinator Palliative Care Glenda Golledge at the Mt Druitt Supportive and Palliative Care Unit.