News

Karen van der Schaar recognised for outstanding achievement

  • by Kate Bowman
  • May 21, 2024

Karen van der Schaar is one of four palliative care volunteers recognised for outstanding achievement this National Volunteer and National Palliative Care Week.

While Karen has been a volunteer with HammondCare’s Neringah Hospital for only two years, it is her selflessness and her unrelenting willingness to serve that has seen her nominated for this recognition.

While in the palliative care setting Karen always goes that extra mile to lift the experience of patients, families, and staff thus making her an outstanding volunteer.

She always comes with an open heart bringing moments of companionship and laughter. Giving patients and families a listening ear during the most difficult times of their life.

In addition to her rostered role and day of volunteering, Karen is always willing to offer a helping hand any day, any time, in any form, and as often as the need arises.

She not only volunteers herself but also guides new volunteers at Neringah Hospital – sharing her knowledge and experience, helping them understand the environment, the motivation to serve, and the ways of friendly interactions with our patients and families.

Karen was kind enough to tell us a a bit about herself and her volunteering.

Please tell us about your volunteer role and the activities you engage in at your service.
I volunteer on two days. One is social volunteering where I do the flowers, fill the heated blanket warmer, make coffees/teas for the patients and visitors. The other is running the happy hour trolley.

What prompted you to volunteer in palliative care?
I’ve always been interested in palliative care as i feel it is such an important and necessary service. I worked as a physio in acute hospitals for close to thirty years and had patients in palliative care wards, so that started my interest in the area.

What do you enjoy most about being a palliative care volunteer?
Engaging with the patients and their relatives, being a small part of the wonderful team that cares for the individuals and their families and friends at this extremely difficult time.

Please tell us about a time you had a particularly inspiring volunteering experience.
Having a conversation with an individual about his final resting place, where his ashes would go and how happy he was to know exactly where he’d be. He was upbeat and happy I’d listened to him, he’d initiated the conversation.

Please share some words of wisdom for fellow volunteers.
I think it’s not what you do but how you do things. Small gestures make a huge difference, you can’t change the circumstances but you can spark moments of happiness.

What would you say to someone who might be thinking about becoming a palliative care volunteer?
If you like it, go for it! It’s not doom and gloom, it’s ordinary people living their lives as well as they can, who need people to support them. It’s really what you make of it.

Congratulations on your well-earned award, Karen. We certainly appreciate your hard work and compassion.

Upcoming Events

NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – September meeting
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  • SEPTEMBER 12, 2024
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NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – September meeting

The role of the Network is to ensure best practice for NSW Managers of Pall...

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NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – December meeting & Christmas lunch
UPCOMING
  • DECEMBER 12, 2024
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteers – December meeting & Christmas lunch

The role of the Network is to ensure best practice for NSW Managers of Pall...

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