Jane Beach, Palliative Care Project Coordinator Western NSW Local Health District, and I spoke yesterday at the Patient Experience Symposium 2019 about the history and work of the Volunteer Project in Western NSW.
Based in Dubbo but traveling across the Western region, Jane heads up the Volunteer Project that seeks to improve access to volunteers by people receiving palliative care, their family and carers.
Rather than adopting a traditional centre-based volunteer approach, the service design aims to create connections between local clinicians and local NGOs within each of 5 trial-site communities.
These 5 communities are Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Mudgee, Orange and Grenfell.
Using a community development approach Jane has engaged with local community members and organisations who have an interest in the end of life experience, to nurture understandings about, and foster support for the outcomes of, the project and the role of palliative care volunteers.
Jane reported that the development of relationships within the 5 trial-site communities is well underway. She also reported that the benefits for each community are likely to extend beyond the volunteer service alone, pointing to the active involvement of broader community stakeholders in discussing the question of caring for elderly and vulnerable people in their communities.
With the project now drawing towards the end of it’s second year there is great optimism for the achievement of the original goal of improving equity of access to support across Western NSW for people receiving palliative care, their families and carers.
Alex Huntir, Manager Volunteer Support Services Programme
Pic: Jane Beach (L) and Alex Huntir speaking at PEx2019, ICC Darling Harbour