A brand new Upper Hunter Palliative Care Volunteer Service was launched yesterday at an event in Muswellbrook.
After commencing in her role earlier in this year Erin Daley has recruited, trained and commenced 8 volunteers who will be available to support people in the Muswellbrook and surrounding areas.
An initiative of the Cancer Council NSW and Hunter New England Local Health District, the new service is one of 5 run by non-government palliative care volunteer organisations in the HNELHD. Cancer Council NSW also runs the Palliative Care Volunteer Service based in Charlestown and managed by Tina Pidcock.
Home support had been provided by volunteers from Muswellbrook Carelink since their inception in the 1980s. The meeting warmly acknowledged the long contribution of Muswellbrook Carelink, which recently announced that they will close as of 30 December this year.
At the opening of the new Upper Hunter Palliative Care Volunteer Service Dr Rachel Hughes, newly arrived Director of Palliative Care at Calvary Mater, spoke about the value of volunteers ‘not as a cost saving measure’ but as a feature of the modern palliative care movement that improves outcomes for patients, carers and families.
Rachel, who grew up in the Nelson Bay-Newcastle area, spoke about the inspirational and pioneering spirit of the founder of the modern palliative care movement, Cecily Saunders, and the way in which that spirit was continued through the participation of volunteers and the involvement of community.
Erin thanked the volunteers who had come forward to be involved. She acknowledged the contribution from the local palliative care team, including Bronwyn Stuerzl, in supporting the development of the service.
The NSW Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen affirmed that just as it takes a village to raise a child so it takes a community to care for their people at end of life.
At the event he also announced the commitment of $30,000 from the NSW Government to the purchase of a new vehicle to support the work of the Cancer Council in the Hunter Valley.
Congratulations Erin and your team in bringing the Upper Hunter Palliative Care Volunteer Service to life!
To access the service please call 02 6572 5402.
Pic: Erin Daley, Community Programs Coordinator – Palliative Care and manager of the new Upper Hunter Palliative Care Volunteer Service (L) with Tarika Rivers from Hunter New England LHD, Tina Pidcock Community Program Coordinator with the Cancer Council’s Palliative Care Volunteer service in Charlestown, and Dr Rachel Hughes Director of Palliative Care at Calvary Mater.