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Volunteers needed

Tuesday, 17th April, 2018

Director of Palliative Care, Melissa Cumming (left) with Community Palliative Care Volunteer coordinator, Janet Pearce. Director of Palliative Care, Melissa Cumming (left) with Community Palliative Care Volunteer coordinator, Janet Pearce.

By Myles Burt

A new program has begun at the Far West Local Health District to help attract more volunteers to palliative care. 

Director of Palliative Care, Melissa Cumming, said the NSW Ministry of Health had provided funding to expand the service and that Janet Pearce had been appointed Community Palliative Care Volunteer Coordinator. 

Ms Pearce said they wanted people who were good at listening, empathetic, kind and sincere to help carers and family members.

“To give the carer a break, or just sit with the patient to talk to them or listen, or even just be silent, just so that they’re with the patient,” she said.

“The advantage of the volunteer is they have the luxury of time.”

Volunteers will also be paired up with patients who have similar interests said Ms Pearce.

“They might read to them, listen to music or watch TV with them.

“Anything really that the patient identifies that would be an activity that they would like to do.”

Ms Pearce said the new volunteer service would also be good for patients who live alone and have no family here.

“It gives them an opportunity to have someone to talk to when they’re in a situation where they’ve just been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness,” said Ms Pearce.

Volunteers will go through a selection process and be given training. To find out more email janet.pearce@health.nsw.gov.au or call the FWLHD on (08) 8080 1733 or 0428 913 303.

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