Community Palliative Care Volunteer Service
How we can help
The Community Palliative Care Volunteer Service is made up of trained volunteers who support patients with a non-curable illness who are under the care of a General Practitioner. Support can also be offered to carers of a person with a palliative diagnosis.
Referrals must come from a treating doctor with the consent of the patient or their carer.
Our volunteers are carefully selected and specifically trained. They are skilled listeners who are practical, reliable and caring.
Volunteer Support Services Offered:
Sometimes it can be beneficial to have someone to speak to outside of the family, whose feelings you don’t have to shield and protect. Our volunteers are there to listen, in an atmosphere of care, confidentiality and respect. They are not counsellors though. Sometimes a once only visit is needed, whilst for others ongoing visits can take place on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Support visits are provided according to your unique needs.
Sometimes just having some company is what is needed. Sometimes it’s just the presence of another person to share some time together that can bring comfort. Sometimes reading a book out loud, playing a game of cards or just sharing a companionable cup of tea.
Our volunteer service recognises that carers need space to get everyday tasks done. It is also important that carers get much needed time out. While we are not able to provide over-night or day-long respite, our volunteers are available to provide up to four hours of respite care. Our volunteers are specially trained but cannot take the place of care practitioners or nursing staff. They also do not do personal care, housework or dispense medication.
Transport to an appointment
Our service is to assist either patients or carers to visit their General Practitioner or the hospital or allied health professional appointments. Where transportation is required, the coordinator will contact you to arrange a time to pick you up and take you to your appointment. Due to availability of volunteers, there may be times where we are unable to provide the service. Our volunteers are not allowed to assist with physical lifting or transferring of patients to and from vehicles.
Relaxation or meditation
Meditation and relaxation techniques can be used to assist in the management of pain and stress. Some of volunteers are trained in the use of progressive muscular relaxation and guided imagery to assist in creating a sense of ease or calm. Appointments can be made in your home if you desire and are made through the coordinator.
Assistance with Shopping or a Social Outing
Our volunteers are available to assist carers and patients with their shopping, or take them on a social outing. Sometimes having a palliative illness can mean that patients are restricted and cannot easily enjoy outings that we all take for granted. In these situations a trip to a coffee shop, a local park or just a ride in the car can provide patients with a needed break from the confines of their home.
Therapeutic hand and foot massage
Touch through simple hand or foot massage can also assist in relaxation and respite from stress. The Palliative Care volunteer program also has a trained palliative care masseuse who has some limited availability. Appointments can be made through the coordinator.
Narrative and letter writing
We believe in the power of stories and each of us has our own story to tell. Our palliative care volunteers can assist you to write your story. Whether you want to:
- Informally list your thoughts;
- Write messages to those you love for now or a future time;
- Record your life story;
- Compile some funny tales from your life;
- Write some poetry; or create a journal
Our volunteers can assist you through scribing, listening and also recording messages.
Patient Support Groups
Facing a non-curative illness can be daunting and challenging. It is not uncommon for people to experience a range of strong feelings and thoughts in response to their own situation. Sometimes these feelings and thoughts can be compounded when people experience them in isolation.
Our patient support group meet on a fortnightly basis at the Emerald Medical Clinic and provides an opportunity for patients to meet others facing similar circumstances. These groups are led by trained volunteer facilitators, under the supervision of our professional counsellors. We can link some group members in via video conference if they have a computer at home.
There is no pressure on group members to speak or share when this does not feel safe or comfortable.
The group does offer an environment practice relaxation together if requested.
Light refreshments are offered during the session.
Carer Support Groups
We understand that sometimes carers also need support.
Our carer groups are held in an atmosphere of care and confidentiality and offer a safe place where carers can share experiences and strategies without fear of being judged. Meeting with other carers can dramatically decrease feelings of isolation whilst offering carers a short respite from the caring role. The group can also provide an opportunity to practice relaxation techniques if requested.
Light refreshments are offered during the session.
If you wish to attend a carer support group and need a volunteer to sit with the person you are caring for please advise the coordinator who arranges someone to assist.
For more information about the Emerald Community Palliative Care Volunteer Service please phone 07 4986 7400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org