GOING THE EXTRA MILE

Volunteers Support Heal, Learn, Discover

MQ Health’s new volunteer program seeks to enhance the patient experience with several strategic initiatives and roles.

As part of MQ Health, Macquarie University Hospital has extended its high-quality patient-centred model of care to its brand new volunteer program.

Officially launched this year, the MQ Health Volunteer Program will roll out several initiatives that focus on patients, their families and visitors to the Hospital. The program will ultimately work across MQ Health’s three integrated health facilities: the Hospital, Clinic and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Volunteer Coordinator Jane Goodwin-Moore said that the program aims to establish a range of dynamic roles that support MQ Health’s mission and values.

“The program will support our core mandate to ‘heal, learn and discover’,” she said. “In the first instance, we will be focusing on initiatives that provide a warm experience and a meaningful connection with the Hospital and Clinic for patients and their families, as well as the wider community.”

The program’s first initiative will be training volunteers to support the Attendant Service at the Concierge and Patient Resource Centre desk in the Clinic building.

The Attendant role will meet, greet and help visitors find their way to different clinical areas, and answer questions around parking, ordering a taxi, and getting to bus stops, train stations or cafes.

This role will also support the planned Resource Centre, currently being established in the Reception area of the Clinic building, by helping patients to locate the medical information available in the centre.

“Another area in which we’d like to see more volunteers participate is on the MQ Health Consumer Advisory Committee,” said Jane. “The committee works to increase consumer, carer and community participation as well as patient-centredness in appropriate areas of MQ Health’s planning and operations.

“There are still vacancies on the group, and we are hoping some volunteers might apply for a position.”

And in a third initiative, the MQ Health Volunteer Program will partner with the University’s Health and Wellbeing Collaboration (HAWC) program for Macquarie University physiotherapy students. The HAWC program gives students the real-world experience they need to provide person-centred care by practicing basic skills in interviewing, assessment, observation and measurement. Volunteers can offer their time and feedback as participants in this program.

There are additional ideas around volunteers serving as ‘companions’ for patients on the wards for patients where they might run an errand for a patient, or sit and have a cup of tea with them.

“We’d like to build up a volunteer group from diverse backgrounds and communities, ad recognise that each person brings a unique perspective and valuable skills to the organisation,” said Jane.

“I think that for volunteers, being a part of the MQ Health volunteer team can provide them with the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of our patients, their families and loved ones.
“They also have the opportunity to meet and work with other fantastic caregivers, learn new skills and be involved in regular social activities and events.

“We have had interest from people from all walks of life – different ages, cultures, language groups and backgrounds. We would like our volunteer group and the program to reflect where MQ Health sits – in a very multicultural suburb and within a dynamic and diverse campus environment.”

TO FIND OUT MORE

E: volunteers@mqhealth.org.au