30 years of palliative care in Maitland

30 years of palliative care in Maitland

30 years of palliative care in Maitland

  • by Carolyn Frichot
  • July 16, 2021

Death is a social discussion we all need to have, according to Judith Robinson, manager of Volunteers for Palliative Care Inc, Maitland, and those conversations are taking place more frequently and openly than ever before.

For more than 30 years the service has been supporting Maitland families at their most vulnerable time – providing volunteer palliative care for people approaching and experiencing end of life, as well as their carers and families.  All at no cost.

The service has around two dozen volunteers at any given time, who go through an intensive training program to equip them with what can sometimes turn out to be a 24/7 labour of love. The volunteers range from people with personal experiences of dying, death and bereavement, to those who just want to help.

Ms Robinson acknowledges that carer burnout can be a huge concern for those taking care of loved ones, and many families may be reluctant to ask for help.  That’s where volunteers can assist.

“Family and other carers want to b able to take care of those they love, as best they can, for as long as they can,” she said.  “We understand what it takes to care for somebody and we want to be there to support them to do that.”

The service is supported by NSW Health but still depends on donations and fundraising to help cover costs.  “It’s a testament to the community that has supported us for over thirty years, that we are valued and needed.”

Regular fundraising activities are always on the agenda, working towards the goal of a Maitland community hospice.  COVID has postponed many activities and goals over the past 12 months however the service will not be daunted.  There are other ways to continue promoting awareness and support in the community.

“We value life stories and are planning a biography project” Ms Robinson said. “It’s the wonderful stories, amazing diverse experiences that we hear from beautiful individuals, that makes the work we do so rewarding”.

“It’s through getting to know each other and sharing of our stories that people can become more comfortable with talking about end of life and planning for their choices and needs.”

Referral to the service is usually through the family’s medical stream however people can call the service direct on 4936 6582, or email info@palliativecaremaitland.org.au

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