Welcome to this library of resources for new managers of palliative care volunteer services in NSW.

This website will help outline some of the key aims, objectives and outcomes of palliative care volunteering. It assumes that you, as a new manager, have some prior knowledge of the human resource aspects of volunteer management. Although managing palliative care volunteers involves skills in human resource management the main focus of this website is palliative care.

The website has been written specifically for the benefit of managers of palliative care volunteers in New South Wales. In 2018 there were about 44 palliative care volunteer services in NSW with about 50 palliative care volunteer managers. To read more see our report Snapshot 2018: A review of Palliative Care Volunteering in NSW.

Palliative care volunteers are actively involved in offering human companionship to people receiving palliative care and to their families.

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

Dame Cicely Saunders, nurse, physician and writer, and founder of hospice movement (1918 – 2005)

The desired outcome of volunteer companionship is to reduce existential distress and suffering. Volunteer support might provide practical assistance to people but this is an adjunct to their focus on the relief of existential distress and suffering.

Palliative care volunteer support might variously be described as psycho-social, empathetic, ‘being emotionally aware’ and ‘being present’. The people selected and retained as palliative care volunteers are those who display empathy and emotional awareness. They understand that the support they provide is designed to achieve an outcome (reduce existential distress and suffering) rather than to help achieve an output (help with the washing, read a book).

The oversight of palliative care volunteers requires you, as the volunteer manager, to have good insight into your own empathy and emotional awareness, and to model behaviour that signals acceptance and resilience to your volunteers. In part these skills will help you to better support your volunteers to stay focused on what’s most important, but the same skills will also help you to manage your own health within the manager’s role.

We hope that this website will provide you with guidance and resources to assist you in your role.

NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteer Services

The Network provides a collegial connection with managers in NSW and is open to anyone who is involved in managing, or is intending to develop, a palliative care volunteer service in NSW. There are no joining fees, so please contact us and we can provide more assistance with connecting-you into the Network. Click here to see more information about the Network.

The Volunteer Support Services Programme

This website has been prepared as part of the Volunteer Support Services Programme which is funded by NSW Health and hosted by Palliative Care NSW.

The Volunteer Support Services Programme seeks to champion the work and interests of Palliative Care Volunteer Services and volunteers in NSW. For more information about our work and for resources on palliative care volunteering see our VolunteerHub website or contact us.