A new EAPC task force is looking at the unique contribution of volunteers in hospice and palliative care. Leena Pelttari, Chief Executive Officer and Anna Pissarek, Project Co-ordinator and Press Officer, Hospiz Österreich, Vienna, Austria, and Ros Scott, Research Fellow, University of Dundee, UK, tell us more and introduce their longer article published in the June edition of the European Journal of Palliative Care.
Just the other day, we were discussing how important our volunteers are and how they make a difference to so many lives. We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside volunteers in many different palliative care settings and to have seen just how important their work is to the services they support.
Volunteers can change life for so many people. Whilst volunteers may not be able to change the fact that people may be facing the end of life their wonderful skills, warmth and generosity bring much to people receiving palliative care and who are facing a difficult time in their lives. A warm smile, a gentle touch and a kind word can mean so much.
But it is not just patients that volunteers help. They also give much needed support to the multi-disciplinary team that lets them focus their professional skills where these are needed most. However, volunteering can also help people to gain new experiences and skills that will help them in their own lives and may even help people to find a job or a new career.
Hospice and palliative care services cannot do what they do without the help of volunteers. It was our passion for and belief in volunteering that led us to start the EAPC Task Force in volunteering and it has been wonderful to find so many people who wanted to get involved in this work.
We wanted to learn more about volunteers in palliative care in Europe and to be able to share this with volunteers, volunteer managers and palliative care organisations. How many volunteers are involved in this work? Are they involved in all countries who are members of EAPC or just some? What do they do? Where do they work? How is their work organised and supported? What are the difficulties that face volunteering?
We also want to hear stories from volunteers and from those who manage volunteers about what they do and why it matters to them. We can then share these with others and perhaps inspire new ideas and ways of working. Above all, we hope that the work that the task force does will help us to think more about volunteering, to reflect on what we do and how we do it and to generate inspiration and new ideas about how we can improve practice.
We are at the beginning of an exciting journey and there is a lot for us to do!
To find out more…
- Come to the EAPC Task Force meeting at the EAPC 8th World Research Congress in Lleida on Thursday 5 June at 15.00 in Meeting Room 11.
- View the EAPC Task Force web page
- Read more stories about volunteering on the EAPC Blog.
To read a copy of the full article…
‘A new EAPC Task Force will investigate hospice volunteering in Europe’ by Leena Pelttari, Anna Pissarek and Ros Scott, is published in the June 2014 issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 21.3). If you have a web-based subscription to the journal you can download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription. Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the journal – click here to subscribe online.
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