What was your background before volunteering with Advance Care Planning Australia?
In the past I have worked as a neuropsychologist in hospital and community settings. I have seen the challenges experienced by individuals and their loved ones when difficult health decisions need to be made, and the person is too unwell to make their own decisions.
What led you to begin volunteering?
Becoming a volunteer community ambassador has fulfilled my desire to continue to use my health knowledge and skills after I retired. I like the intellectual challenge of assisting others to take control of their health care. There is much to learn about advance care planning, so that keeps me on my toes. I also enjoy learning from the other volunteer ambassadors. They are a very welcoming group who are willing to share their knowledge with others.
What is your favourite part of volunteering with Advance Care Planning Australia?
People are often asked by their doctor or the hospital to complete an advance care plan at a time when they are feeling overwhelmed and worried. They may never have heard of advance care planning and suddenly they are given a form to fill in. In my role as a community ambassador, I take the time to work through the process with the person. I provide clear information about what advance care planning involves, as well as the resources required to complete their advance care plan. Callers to the Support Service appreciate knowing that they can contact us whenever they need help. My favourite thing is when the person thanks me for my information and assistance at the end of our conversation.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about advance care planning?
The importance of having a conversation with your loved ones about your priorities, hopes and preferences for your future health care. Without the conversation, those you love may be left in the dark if they are required to make decisions on your behalf. Having the conversation ensures that your wishes and preferences are more likely to be respected and followed if you are too unwell to direct your own health care.
To get involved in volunteering or to find out more, please contact us