Volunteers help in our community (people being cared for at home), in a hospice or palliative care ward or unit, with bereavement counselling, the Wellbeing Service (complementary therapies – massage, reiki, aromatherapy and more), Client Biography Service, event or administration support.
Volunteering in palliative care is not for everyone but those who do it genuinely enjoy their work. People often become aware of palliative care through a close encounter with death. They may have had a partner die, or another family member passes away. Perhaps they cared for a loved one at home, or have been employed in the area. Some volunteers simply have a genuine interest in this area and seek voluntary work as a way to develop their skills and knowledge.
- Listen & chat or provide companionship
- Arrange flowers
- Sit with or read to patients
- Help with meals/shopping/attending appointments or transport
- Give hand/foot massages
- Support visitors & comfort families
- Provide bereavement counselling and assist with bereavement groups
- Offer complementary therapies at the Wellbeing Centre, i.e. massage, aromatherapy and meditation
- Assist the Client Biography Service – record client’s narrative, transcribe and compile a completed biography which is presented to the client and/or caregiver
- Assist with fundraising or provide administrative support
- Raise community awareness around palliative care
Volunteers say that working with people at end of life is extremely rewarding. People are often very honest and ‘real’ at this time and are keen to make their remaining life as meaningful as possible. Despite the risk of emotional vulnerability, volunteers find that the rewards include the privilege of sharing important moments with patients and their families, the opportunity to re-assess their own lives and the special satisfaction that comes with helping.
Ready to volunteer? We’d love to hear from you!
Contact your local Palliative Care Service to find out who accepts and manages volunteers.
For Southern Adelaide Palliative Services (SAPS) based at Flinders Medical Centre and volunteering in Adelaide’s southern community please contact Anne at the SAPS Volunteer Service on (08) 8404 2058.