After a 12-month suspension of face-to-face volunteering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supportive Care volunteer team is back visiting patients at the Mt Druitt Supportive and Palliative Care Unit.
Nursing Unit Manager, Trish Dalgleish, said that it had been a long and difficult year without the Supportive Care Volunteers as they make such a huge difference to patients’ wellbeing.
“Having the volunteers back in the unit has brought back a sense of normalcy for staff, families and patients”, said Trish, “The staff are just thrilled to have them back.”
Volunteer efforts keep patients active and engaged by bringing in activities such as puzzles, magazines, and iPads. They give lonely patients the opportunity to connect with non-clinical visitors and chat about their interest, hobbies, families, and life histories.
Liz MacKintosh was one of five volunteers returning to full volunteer duties last Monday.
“I’m so glad to be back,” she said, “Today I have visited several patients giving them gentle hand massages, handing out blankets, socks and beanies, and having a little chat with everyone. I try to brighten up their day a bit.”
One patient was particularly pleased to have a volunteer visit. “Having a gentle hand massage from Liz has made my day. It took me away from everything”, they said.
Kylie Clark, Palliative Care Volunteer Manager, explained that despite in-person visiting being suspended on March 18 last year many volunteers carried on during the service’s suspension behind the scenes. The ‘Check-In and Chat’ service saw volunteers telephone patients in the community to keep in touch and help them feel less isolated and lonely. Some volunteers were allowed to continue to look after the Unit’s extensive gardens for the ongoing enjoyment of inpatients.
Photo L-R: Mount Druitt Supportive and Palliative Care Unit Volunteers Flavian De Silva, Maria Greenwood, Debbie Duffell, Ilgin Huseyin and Angie Vista.