Margaret, Palliative Care Volunteer, Kogarah
19th May 2020
Before I retired, I decided that I would volunteer time to an organisation that worked in direct contact with people; one that offered services to people who needed help to continue to live their lives to the fullest extent possible, to the very end of their lives.
In researching organisations that filled that criteria, I discovered the palliative care program at Calvary Hospital, Kogarah. The program ticked many boxes. Volunteers are not a disconnected part of the health care team who work in the palliative program; we work directly with people who are facing the end of their lives; the palliative care ethos is to treat the whole person, not just the disease and the work load is no more than the volunteer can cope with.
I was reassured to know that no-one is connected to a patient without undergoing thorough training and that a lot of thought is given by the volunteer manager to the placement of volunteer and patient before contact is made.
I have been visiting home-based palliative care patients for two years. I offer foot or hand massage – something I had no experience with, but the volunteer program gave me the skills and confidence to try, – sometimes there is a lot of talking, but mostly I just need to listen. Regardless of the length of time of the visits, I have always come away feeling that I have learned so much from the experience; listening to their life stories, enhances my life.
If you are interested in volunteering with Calvary find out more here