Behind the scenes at Bendigo Health there are approximately 300 generous volunteers who take the time to assist with an array of tasks that keep the hospital functioning.
Bendigo Health volunteer Ann-Maree Jarrett said her role involves working within the children’s ward, rehabilitation ward, performing administration work and helping with the hospital’s enrichment program.
“Working with the children at the hospital helps take their mind off whatever their situation might be. Some come in stressed, scared and confused, you get a lot of different emotional situations.”
“When I’m with the children I help distract them from their situation, another vital part of volunteering is being able to support the children’s parents, just to be a listening ear to sit and be with them.”
Ms Jarrett said to be a “presence” in the wards throughout the hospital can also help patients that are isolated and who might be scared of the hospital environment.
“I can’t give them any information about medical advice. However I can be a reassurance that Bendigo Health is a wonderful place to be, their situation will be very well looked after and there are numerous people that will look after them.”
There are many other areas that volunteers are involved with at the hospital which include palliative care, intensive care, working in the gift shop, discharge lounge and at the organisation’s residential aged care facilities.
Bendigo Health volunteer Wayne Darby said he has been a volunteer at the hospital for nearly nine years and started volunteering after he retired from Thales, after working at the North Bendigo site for over 40 years.
“I had just retired from work and was at a bit of a loose end and I thought I would give something back to the community by volunteering,” Mr Darby said.
“I have a friend that works here and she told me to try being a volunteer at the hospital.”
Mr Darby volunteers on three afternoons per week and his role is based at the front desk, which involves “meeting and greeting” new patients and visitors.
“I have a patient list for when people come in to visit someone and I direct them where to go,” Mr Darby said.
“I give directions when patients come in to visit one of the clinics, if they’re elderly or if they might be slightly disoriented I will escort them up to where they need to go.”
“I enjoy helping out with the community while meeting new people everyday.”
“For anyone that’s retired or that wants to fill an afternoon or morning in, you’re only committed to three or four hours per week. It’s ideal, it’s excellent.”
For more information or if you are interested in volunteering at Bendigo Health please visit www.bendigohealth.org.au.