EPC could not provide the quality service it does without our volunteers and we consider our volunteers part of our care team. Our volunteers work in emotionally vulnerable spaces. We are a nationally leading (Best Practice Australia) volunteer program that provides extensive training and support for our volunteers.
EPC values equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion and we welcome volunteers irrespective of race, age, gender, ability or religion.
We love our volunteers!
Us with You
‘K loved his volunteer, H. He loved how H took him to the shops, visited him, supported him and talked with him. In fact, K never stopped talking about how good his EPC volunteer was.’
‘Pat and I have had the best day ever. We talked and talked and talked. I can’t wait to see her next week. It was simply marvelous’
Our clients find that with the progression of their illness, their social world decreases in size. They may not feel as confident about going out on their own any longer. Our carers also get very tired and are unable to find time to do the things that must happen each week, in order for a household to function.
This is where our Community volunteers step in.
They visit clients in their own home. This can be on a weekly basis, for up to four hours but is often far less.
Visits can include companionship and social interaction, respite support to give carers a break, transport to and from medical appointments or social outings.
Our volunteers do not perform any personal care, medication management, shopping (without the client’s presence) or housework.
Community volunteers engage in many different activities with clients. These have included:
If you have the ability to just ‘be’ with another person, allowing them to guide your time together, our Community program might interest you
A Word Before I Go
‘I feel doing my biography, has really helped with my battle with cancer. Just talking to you all has helped me in my mental attitude, which is just as important to me as is the medical side of the treatment.’
‘I have been distributing email copies to friends and relatives and have been so inspired, thrilled, educated and encouraged to continue on. My biography volunteer encouraged me to write my life story. I had decided not to because I thought no one would believe it, and I thought I had better things to do. However, having done it, I am delighted and continue to be delighted in the outcome.’
EPC is very proud of its award-winning biography program.
Our biography volunteers work one on one with our clients allowing them to tell their story. The process of storytelling enables messages, philosophies, beliefs, memories and culture to pass from one person to the next. Many clients say they feel much better after a session, reporting a reduction in anxiety, depression, pain and breathlessness and an increase in self esteem. Biography recording takes place over 6 – 10 visits of one hour in duration.
We also work to create stories in a format that children will understand and appreciate.
If working with a volunteer is too difficult, clients can request a biography journal to use in their own time. If each question is answered a beautiful guided story will emerge. If you enjoy listening and typing, have access to a computer and the internet, have medium level word processing skills and are passionate about assisting someone have that ‘word before I go’ experience then this could be the role for you.
Biography Volunteer Requirements
All trainee Volunteer Biographers need to have at least:
There is a lot of transcribing and editing work involved on a weekly basis while helping a client write their story.
While working with a client, biographers will:
‘I just wanted to say thank you for our photos, the time you spent with us all and the results you got were amazing. It was much appreciated and really means a lot to palliative care patients and their families.’
‘We were delighted with the photographs that Julia took. We thought she was very professional and was also a pleasure to have here. She showed great empathy with all members of the family, was very patient in the selection of locations and went far beyond what we expected in her choice of shots. The range and number of photos we have received are very precious and much appreciated.’
‘My mum was thrilled with the pictures taken and also how nice the photographer was and the time that he spent to ensure that we got some lovely pictures. He did a great job and we really appreciate that experience. ‘
EPC have a group of talented photographers who visit our clients and their families for a session of creating beautiful images. This takes place in the client’s home or at a site of the client’s choosing (within our catchment area). Once the visit is complete the photographer will email the client digital images of their photos for their unlimited use.
If you are someone who is involved with photography, and are looking for a way to bring a smile to someone who is in a difficult space then this might be the role for you.
Leave them on Cloud 9
'Even though I have only 3 hairs, it was so nice to have the volunteer hairdresser come to me. She gave me a 2 min head massage and I loved it.'
EPC’s Cloud Nine program offers the services of a qualified volunteer hairdresser in the home.
This service is limited to EPC clients only (not carers) and is offered free of charge
How the program works:
Our nurses tell us that this is something our clients often wish they could access, to help them look and feel good about themselves and feel ‘normal’ at a time when all else is not ‘normal’.
'I have been unable to walk my dog, Suzy for 8 months. She and I have become very housebound . Suzy is blind, deaf and diabetic and I couldn’t’ get over the patience and handling of Suzy that my volunteer showed. Suzy didn’t want to walk at first, so my volunteer sat with her on the step and played with her until she got more familiar with her. She won her ove,r which is great for Suzy, and off they went on a 30 min walk.'
'The Palliative Paws team have transformed my dog’s life and have transformed my life. Before they got involved my dog was getting no walks at all. Now he is out 2 times a week.'
We know that animals are a significant support system for our clients. They are very much a part of the family network and bring their own brand of ‘happy’ into the home. As our clients get weaker they are unable to continue to exercise their dogs as they once did and that is where our volunteers can get involved.
A volunteer will visit a home up to two times a week to walk the family pet. All dogs are met and walked by an EPC staff member before being linked to a volunteer.
If you are someone who likes the fresh air, furry creatures, walking regularly and want to care for the four legged supporters of our clients then this might be the role for you.
'Thank you for helping with my husband. I know you only came twice but he really liked you and enjoyed your company. It was also a comfort for me, when you came to see me after he died. A great help in that time. You are a warm and very caring person’
Once a loved one has died EPC recognises that carers can be left in a very lonely space. The world as they knew it has changed and they have to learn what this new world is all about. This is the space our Bereavement Volunteer Companions step in to. They are linked with a carer for up to 6 sessions to have a coffee and chat or to teach a new life skill.
Our Bereavement volunteers also support our bereavement groups.
We only accept volunteers into our bereavement support roles once they have been with us for at least one year. We do ask you to let us know if this is an interest of yours.
We have a volunteer team who meet every fortnight and prepare 80 – 100 cards (each time) to our new bereaved carers. Comments from clinical staff are:
'One carer has never accessed counselling but because of the card and letter felt EPC was continuing to reach out to him and decided to access the help he needed in bereavement from EPC.'
Our administration volunteers assist in the office in a variety of ways – they prepare a lot of the material that goes out to clients and carers. They also support the office staff in roles that are essential for the ongoing work of EPC.
‘It’s extremely good of you to do something like this. I can’t believe there are people like you out there.'
Our carers are doing an amazing job in looking after the person in their home who is not well. Understandably though they get tired, stressed or find they have no time to take care of the weekly things that must happen in order for a household to function.
This is where our volunteers step in.
We can link a volunteer up directly with a carer:
– for a cuppa or a chat.
– to take them shopping or to their appointments.
– simply to ring them once a week and ask how they are.
– to sit with a client so the carer can go out or have a rest.
If you are someone who is compassionate, are able to listen and offer support from the sidelines without taking over, then this may be the role for you.
EPC volunteers, working in the area of bereavement, collect the favourite articles of clothing from our carers and turn them into cushion covers.
These cushions become deeply valued items that hold so many memories.
They become the thing that can be held in those moments of grief.
‘I would like to express my gratitude to your volunteers and in particular Jane. I gave her my late husband’s jumper and she made it into the most beautiful comfort cushion. It is sitting in his chair for everyone passing to touch and stroke and remember him. I can’t thank Jane enough for her kindness and your organsiation for providing such a service.’
Assisting clients who speak those languages by translating what they are saying to an EPC Biographer so they can write their story for them. (NB. you don't have to write the story - just attend the visit and interpret)