Palliative care volunteers recognised

At the age of 72, Susie Thomas knew she was in a high-risk category for contracting COVID-19.

The former registered nurse also knew she wanted to help during a pandemic. In particular, help people and their families in palliative care.

“I knew it was important,” she said.

“We followed all the protocols so we could be safe and once a month I would go to a room at Braeside Hospital and pack brochures to help patients and families who had been diagnosed with cancer. We averaged about 100 and sent them to all the hospitals in the South Western Sydney Local Health District and community centres.”

The Abbotsbury resident is part of the 35-strong SWSLHD Palliative Care COVID19 volunteer team. The team was recognised earlier last month with the volunteer team of the year award at the recent at the recent NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards which are run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding effort of volunteers throughout the state.

When the SWSLHD palliative care service was suspended on March 17, 2020, palliative care volunteers were recruited to form a COVID-19 team tasked with adapting to COVID safe ways of working to maintain the bereavement activity.

At a time when visiting restrictions were in place, limited people at funerals, border closures and no memorial services, the volunteers supported bereaved families right through the pandemic.

Credit: Liverpool City Champion