Become a palliative care Community or Biography volunteer and impact your neighbourhood…one person at a time!
EPC volunteers support clients on our program, living across Eastern Melbourne, with visits, outings, driving to appointments; or listening, recording and compiling biographies, during business hours.
We value our strong and exceptional team of volunteers and provide full training, ongoing support and mentoring.
Volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with good spoken English are welcome.
We run an eight-week training session on Wednesdays in February-March each year and commence recruitment in August.
Bookings are now open. Please call EPC on 1300 130 813 to register or for a chat.
Please CLICK HERE to apply to become a volunteer with EPC by filling in our online application form. We will be in touch with you on receiving your application – but please be aware that we will not be interviewing prospective applicants until October 2017.
Eastern Palliative Care (EPC) has a dedicated, professional and very strong team of approximately 150 volunteers, who each have a vital role to play in our service delivery. They contribute thousands of hours each year and help us to greatly improve the quality of services we provide to our clients.
Our palliative care volunteers are accepted into people’s lives and homes at a time of huge emotional upheaval, crisis and vulnerability. They are a supportive presence to both our clients and their carers.
EPC volunteers are involved in many different areas of our organisation, including providing companionship, spending time with clients to give carers a break, client biography, transporting clients to medical appointments, bereavement support, administration and fundraising.
At EPC, we know each and every one of our volunteers and they are an integral part of our care team. Volunteers are highly valued and therefore provided with extensive training, ongoing support and mentoring.
Here’s what EPC staff members have to say about what our volunteers bring to the clients they are linked with:
‘As I think of the volunteers who have spent time with clients I
oversee, I am amazed at the change they have made by
befriending our clients. With laughter, interest, sharing of
literature, playing electronic games, listening, going to the
movies, shooting baskets (basketball), lunch at a café,
concern for them as they share some of their internal
struggle – these are just some of the ways our volunteers
bring life and normality into the lives of those who are
isolated due to their illness.’
‘Wow! What a difference I hear in the voice and experience of my
clients, since they have had a volunteer assigned to them.’
– EPC Family Support Worker
‘We hear of the quiet achievements, the people who sit and talk when no-one has time, the people who can keep company with someone who is ill so that they can sleep or rest and feel safe. The people who help sort the “too hard basket” or drive someone to an appointment through the busy city traffic…and not get flustered or anxious through the process. The people who don’t judge the chaos or eccentricities, the people who have the time to smile and walk with the client for a little while.’
‘Very few people know of this secret army, and volunteers rarely speak socially about what they do, but we nurses are “on to you and we thank you.’ – EPC Nurse
Here are a few comments from current volunteers about the support EPC offers to them:
‘You have such a “knack” of making each one feel they’re special and they’re in your mind… you do make the time to be there for us all and encourage us…you bring out the best in us…you’ve a talent for making us feel we’ve done something special.’ – Keith
‘I love my involvement with EPC and look forward to my next client… you are to be congratulated on the support you extend to each and every one of us.’ – Dianne
‘It is encouraging to see the strength and bonds that are… your team within EPC. The future is indeed a bright and confident one for us as your volunteers. Job well done! Thank you.’ – Julia
Volunteering in a palliative care environment takes a special kind of person. Qualities we look for include the following.
Here are some of the things you will need to know if you are considering becoming a volunteer with Eastern Palliative Care.
- All our volunteer work is conducted during business hours.
- Our volunteers need access to a car, their own driver’s licence, and access to a computer.
- We try, where possible, to place volunteers with clients close to their local community.
- Our volunteer biographers also need to have basic word processing skills. This includes things like inserting pictures into a document and cutting and pasting. Typing skills are also needed.
- Many of our volunteers will have experienced bereavement. However, for people wishing to train with EPC in a client-focused volunteer role, a significant period of time must have passed since the death of a person they have been close to. We need to ensure our volunteers are in ‘the right place’ to take on what can be a very emotionally challenging, though fulfilling, role.
Our introductory training for community and biography volunteers is extensive and runs for one day per week for a period of eight weeks. If you are interested in more information about training as an Eastern Palliative Care volunteer, please click on the link below or call our Volunteer Services department on 1300 130 813.
Community volunteers visit clients in their home, often on a weekly basis, for up to four hours. Visits can include companionship and social interaction, respite support to give carers a break, transport to/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, some of which have been as diverse as going to the theatre and on picnics, painting together, playing chess or cards, drives in the country, op-shopping, cooking together, shooting hoops or gentle practice in the cricket nets with younger clients… and so on. Sometimes our volunteers will simply sit with a client who is sleeping to allow a carer to do some errands or just take a break.
If you have the ability to just ‘be’ with another person, allowing them to guide your time together, our Community Volunteer program might interest you. Extensive training and support is given.
Volunteer biographers support people in the final stages of their lives by capturing their stories, reminding them that their lives are meaningful and that they have made a difference. The service provides clients with the opportunity and space to think about their life and what they would like their loved ones to know; and to simply be heard, at what can be a very busy and confusing time. Our biographers come from all walks of life and are very passionate about the program.
Biographers visit clients in their home—on average once a week for 6-10 weeks—with a digital voice recorder and a willingness to listen. They return each week with the previous session transcribed and printed. After the final session, the client will receive bound copies and an electronic version of the biography, to use however they wish.
‘I hope my biography will help my children understand the person that I am.’
‘It enabled me to complete a task that was important to me and yet had become beyond my resources.’
‘The visits were something to look forward to … I enjoyed the conversations.’
‘Biography gave me the space and time to forget about my illness and take an interest in other things.’
If you are a good listener and have some spare time during business hours, access to a computer, basic word processing skills (including typing and things like inserting pictures into a document, cutting and pasting), a car and the desire to make a difference to the lives of others, we would love to hear from you.
If you would like to know more about the Volunteer Biography Program, please read this article written by one of our volunteer biographers,
OR, you could read this transcript of an interview our Senior Coordinator of Volunteers did with Jon Faine on ABC Radio – 774 Melbourne,
What do administration, bereavement, and fundraising volunteers do?
Bereavement volunteers may be involved in activities such as assisting bereaved carers learn new life skills and supporting EPC’s bereavement groups. However, our administration, bereavement and fundraising volunteers are currently taken from our pool of trained volunteers and we do not, at this stage, offer training for people wishing to volunteer only in these areas.
If this is an area you would like to support as your sole involvement with Eastern Palliative Care please let us know.
EPC Ambassador Program
EPC are excited to be relaunching its Ambassador Program!
Our Ambassadors will be trained to present and provide information on Palliative Care and how EPC support our local eastern community. We will use this program to build links in our community and talk about the amazing work that we do.
If you are part of a group that would be interested in having an EPC Ambassador present, please contact Krystal Wallis on 1300 130 813. Presentations generally take up to 45 minutes with extra time for questions.
Help us spread the word about community palliative care!