Our South Western Regional Palliative Care Service (SWRPCS) wants to provide the support of volunteers to patients living with life-limiting illnesses in and around Skipton, Lismore and Derrinallum. It’s the one part of the Corangamite Shire where these volunteers do not exist and SWRPCS nurse consultant coordinator Andrea Janes is determined to address the situation.
Last year she ran an incredibly successful recruitment drive to find and train local people living in Camperdown, Cobden, Port Campbell and Timboon. Margo Gilchrist (left) and Christine Matthew were two of 42 wonderful human beings who signed up - to more than double the size of Andrea’s palliative care volunteer team, from 30 to 72. This allowed SWRPCS to expand to the far boundaries of almost everywhere in Corangamite and Moyne bar the Skipton/Lismore/Derrinallum area. Currently, 14 patients in the program live in and around these towns. They would significantly benefit from the availability of trained, caring volunteers supporting them.
SWRPCS matches their volunteers with their patients (and patients’ families) in relation to what these people are looking for in terms of support. Tasks never involve nursing, hygiene or housework duties. These are the sorts of things you might be asked to help with:
If you’re interested in the upcoming training to become a palliative care volunteer for the areas in and around Skipton, Derrinallum, Lismore and Camperdown please call Andrea on 5564 4179.
IMAGES: Margo (left) and Christine have continued supporting Glenormiston’s Jimmy Honeyman since Maureen, his wife of 48 years, died eight months ago.
‘The volunteers from South West Healthcare’s Palliative Care Team have made a big difference for me,’ he says. ‘I was on the verge of going nowhere before Margo and Christine came. They’re both locals, and talking with them has been great. I don’t think I would have got through without them. Margo takes me for drives, and Christine works in the garden with me. She also takes me to bingo sometimes.’
Though they’ve never won much at bingo, Jimmy loves having the two to talk to ‘otherwise it’s just the cat or the galah out the back,’ he says.
Images and words by Palliative Care Victoria.