Volunteers in Practice


What we know

Volunteers play an important role in palliative care. They can help relieve distress and strengthen bonds between dying people and their community, friends, activities and hobbies. Volunteers need support and training in carrying out their role.

What can I do?

Remember that volunteers are different to family members, carers and paid careworkers.

Familiarise yourself with the training provided to volunteers and the expected scope of their role.

Consider the possible sources of conflict between volunteers and health professionals by considering the challenges for volunteers in working as non-experts in an expert clinical setting and spend a few minutes talking with your volunteers about their view on formal care (theoretical care framework) and where they see themselves fitting into the system of care in your service.

Consider whether there are ways that the contribution by volunteers could make for better end-of-life and palliative care outcomes

Volunteering in palliative care may be stressful; to help you look after yourself use the resources in the self-care section.

What can my organisation do?

Review the Guidance Manual for Palliative Care Volunteer Training from Palliative Care NSW.

Consider how your service compares to the Palliative Care Volunteer Standards (619kb pdf) from Victorian Department of Human Services.

The Palliative Care Victoria Volunteer Training Resource Kit (2020) offers resources for trainers of palliative care volunteers.

Page updated 08 July 2021