Palliative care volunteers organise conference

Palliative Care Volunteers attached to the not for profit Neighbourhood Central in Parkes are organising a Palliative Care Conference at the Railway Hotel on July 21.

Neighbourhood Central has been involved with palliative care volunteers in association with the Parkes Palliative Care team since about 2012.

The Parkes Palliative Care Team receives about 110 referrals a year.

The Parkes palliative care volunteers are involved in visiting people at home or in the community.

They offer support and companionship for people in palliative care and their family and carers.

Parkes Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Bernadette Orange was one of the pioneers behind the service.

Bernadette said volunteers are a valuable part of the palliative care team.

“Not everyone in palliative care will experience pain, but the pain is made worse when a person is distressed about something in their life,” she said.

Palliative care NSW recently completed a survey of Nurses experiences of palliative care volunteers called ‘A space of caring: NSW nurses’ experiences of Palliative Care Volunteers in inpatient settings’.

The survey showed a significant level of support for volunteers from palliative care Nurses with 70% of respondents saying they would like more volunteers in their service.

Some 89% of respondents agreed that volunteers display empathy and emotional awareness and contributed to better palliative care.

The upcoming conference is called Pain is More Than Pills, and aims to delineate pain and suffering from a physical perspective and incorporate a psychosocial, spiritual and cultural perspective.

“This conference is all about the important role that the volunteers have in easing that sort of pain and in supporting people in our community,” Bernadette said.

“We are really proud of our volunteers and for the support of Neighbourhood Central.”

As well as presentations from the key speakers there will be informative and interactive discussions, networking opportunities plus time to reflect on the role of volunteers in palliative care today.

To register go to www.volunteerhub.com.au or contact Tony Fisher on 0428 970 559.