Hospice forced to switch to online training due to a lack of volunteers

Rachel GreenBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton Hospice Care Inc chief executive James Jarvis.
Camera IconBusselton Hospice Care Inc chief executive James Jarvis. Credit: Rachel Green

Due to a lack of volunteers, Busselton Hospice Care Inc. has been forced to switch to online training in the attempt to attract more numbers.

This comes as the hospice had a recent 19 per cent drop in volunteer numbers due to the pandemic.

Founded in 1989, the hospice is mainly backed by community donations and by fundraising to develop ongoing funding streams that will support the sustainability of palliative care volunteer models in the future.

Like many organisations in the South West, the hospice relies on its volunteers to provide essential company to the people they service.

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The switch the new online learning management system is hoping to attract more volunteers as it will eliminate the need for the immense face to face training.

“The training process is quite extensive,” Busselton Hospice Care Inc chief executive, James Jarvis said.

“It’s because we actually refer to our volunteers as professional volunteers, as the work they have to do is quite skilled.

“The volunteers that are going into the hospital are working alongside the clinical team, providing social and emotional support and that’s a skilled job and It’s not for everybody.”

The current program requires volunteers to go into the hospice for five days of training, which is tough for many participants as they have work and other commitments.

“It’s about expanding the funnel of people who might think they can volunteer,” Mr Jarvis said.

“By doing the online learning and self-paced online learning, it gets them through to the final stages a different way.

“We’re hoping by offering it in a flexible format, we will get more people coming into the funnel and getting on board.”

A variety of studies show that not only recipients benefit from volunteer support, but people who volunteer also typically experience boosted health, happiness, and life satisfaction.

Hospice volunteers are involved in wide range of different activities and roles, which help the community with planning their end of life.

With a growing population and increased life expectancy from life-limiting conditions, financial support is essential to help the Busselton community live well, die well and grieve well.

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