May 20
Volunteer services breaking new ground in Western NSW
People receiving palliative or end of life care will for the first time have the option of receiving social support from volunteers in some Western New South Wales towns.
A new volunteer service in Coonabarabran was officially launched at a special dinner held in April.

It’s a collaboration between Warrumbungle Community Care and clinicians from the Western NSW Local Health District. Its primary purpose is to support people with a life-limiting illness and their carers, and those suffering the effects of social isolation.

The launch was attended by local clinicians from the Coonabarabran Primary and Community Health Centre, new volunteers, Warrumbungle Community Care staff, Councillors and others.

Palliative Care NSW, Volunteer Support Service Program Kate Bowman An opening address reflecting on how the best defense against bad dying is a robust and compassionate community was given by from the am.

Also speaking at the launch was Jane Beach, Palliative Care Project Coordinator in Western NSW LHD. She spoke about how over the last year she has been working closely with committed local residents and community organisations all over Western NSW to get new a new style of community-led palliative care volunteer services up and running.

While Coonabarabran is the first of the new palliative care volunteer services to launch, a second service will be launching in Grenfell on May 23 during National Palliative Care Week with a third service in Mudgee soon to follow. All three services have already begun taking referrals. New volunteer services operating in Orange and Dubbo are also not far away.

Alex Huntir, Manager, Volunteer Support Services Programme, Palliative Care NSW was the mastermind behind this innovative project aimed at addressing the inequities of access to community palliative and supportive care for patients and their families in end of life care. Jane Beach and Alex presented this model of community-led volunteering at the 2019 Patient Experience Symposium in Sydney last month. 

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