Most palliative care volunteers have had some life experience that has touched them and made them more aware of the circumstances that face those living with a life limiting illness.
Taree Community Health is running a training course early in 2018 for those interested in becoming a palliative care volunteer and a limited number of positions are available.
Palliative care volunteers provide practical help, companionship and emotional support to patients of the palliative care service, their families and carers. Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and have generosity of spirit and a strong commitment.
Being a palliative care volunteer doesn’t suit everyone and the application process requires interviews, a criminal record check and the completion of a 30 hour education course to prepare applicants for the role.
As members of the palliative care team, volunteers must adhere to ethical guidelines and the Health Service Code of Conduct and policies. Volunteers do not provide nursing or intimate personal care and don’t do housework, cook main meals or lift the patient.
Karen Rudge, palliative care volunteer coordinator at Taree Community Health said that volunteers give their time freely and can help in many ways.
“This can be by giving the home carer a break by sitting with the patient, helping with shopping or transport to appointments, running errands and ‘just being there’ for the ill person, for the main carer and for other family members,” she said.
“Palliative care volunteers have the time to listen while people talk about their feelings in an open and unhurried way. They need to be patient, flexible, nonjudgmental, understanding and accepting of other people's beliefs and values.”
The course will run each Tuesday over February and March 2018.
Anyone from the Gloucester, Manning and Great Lakes areas area who may be interested in this role is invited to contact Ms Rudge on 6592 9668 for more information.