Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Shoalhaven Palliative Care Volunteers

Elanne Thompson coordinates the Palliative Care Volunteer service in the historic town of Berry in the Shoalhaven area.

The service has many long-term volunteers in its ranks and is not short of new-comers. “We don’t usually advertise, people come to us because Karinya, our Palliative Care Unit and our Community Palliative Care Team are held in such high regard in the community”, said Elanne.  Significantly, about 30% of their volunteers are now-retired clinicians or have an aged care/disability service background.

The service is well supported by the Karinya Palliative Care service. For acting Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) Ben Dootson it is his first experience with volunteers since moving into Palliative Care from a Critical Care background.

“It works really well, the relationship between the staff and volunteers”, said Ben. “It’s not necessarily a formal arrangement but it’s an accepted part of patient care that the volunteers are likely to get involved.”

Inpatient volunteers interact with staff directly, and a weekly meeting of community staff considers which of their patients could benefit from volunteer support at home.

The other Palliative Care Volunteer service in the Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD is managed by Cynzia DeiCont at Port Kembla, and creating consistency and sharing support is something that the managers in Berry and Port Kembla are working on.

“We are planning to share training for volunteers, and to share expertise for training”, Elanne said. “We’re trying to be more planned in our training so that we can promote fixed dates to people who enquire about volunteering.”

Berry is a good example of a volunteer service well supported by the clinical team and embedded in the day-to-day clinical care of patients.

From Left to Right:

Elanne Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator

Ben Dootson, Acting NUM Karinya Unit

Kay Cox, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse

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  1. Kathleen Price
    January 14, 2018

    I whould like to know about volunteering for the illawarra area in palliative care. I have no medical experience but spent a great deal of time in palliative care units when my Husband passed away nearly three years ago. I whould like to give back for the wonderful care he received at port kembla hospital. I am sixtyfive years of age and in good health and have always worked. I realise it would require training but would love to be able to do this. Thank you for your time. Kind regards Kathy Price

    • Kate Bowman
      January 15, 2018

      Hi Kathy. So glad to hear you are interesting in volunteering.

      You can find volunteer services in your area under the “Find a Volunteer Service” tab on our webpage: 

      Contact them directly for more information.

      Kind regards,


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