YOUR SAY: A letter from Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers secretary Barbara Drayton during National Palliative Care Week.

Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers secretary Barbara Drayton sheds some light on an important, but not-so-well-known volunteer organisation.

Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers secretary Barbara Drayton congratulates Alex Smith on completing his volunteers training course.

Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers secretary Barbara Drayton congratulates Alex Smith on completing his volunteers training course.

This week is National Palliative Care Week and we are so fortunate here in the Cessnock-Kurri Kurri area to have so many organisations that care about our community.

So it seems appropriate to talk about the group who are not so well-known, that is, the Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers who cover the Singleton and Cessnock Council areas.

The aim of this group is to offer support to the carer who is managing the ill health/disability of someone very dear to them in their private home.

The volunteer shares the load by giving the carer some respite and becoming a friend to the sick member who maybe dying or who has a life-limiting disease. Both the carer and the patient can benefit from this intervention. The carer can have time to pamper themselves or catch up on the daily demands in their own lives.

The frail person can enjoy fresh input from the volunteer where they can share stories of their life experience or just be comforted by knowing there is someone nearby to call on if they need assistance to go to the toilet, to look around the garden, to write a card or be helped with their food. We emphasise that we are not nurses, but companions.

No two people are the same so it is important that we respect these differences and can empathise with the distress that they may be feeling. The importance of keeping everything confidential is recognised so that trust can build up between all parties.

Volunteers are of all ages, male and female, mature people who have received training to be sensitive to the individual and their differences. The Palliative Care coordinator carefully matches the volunteer with the client to ensure the best outcome for all concerned.

This work can be very rewarding with genuine affection developing for each other. It can mean that there are times when our emotions are high but there is always an outlet by talking to our supervisor so that our own wellbeing is cared for too.

The service is funded by donations and the Hunter New England Local Health District and is a completely free service.

For more information contact the coordinator, Sue Cleary on 6572 2121 or email office@midhunterpalcare.com.au.

Barbara Drayton

Secretary, Mid Hunter Palliative Care Volunteers

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