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Giving back to the community – Patient Companion Volunteer Karen Budden

Karen with patient Tina on Ward 5FN at Frankston Hospital.

We sat down with volunteer Karen Budden to learn about her role and how she is making a difference at Peninsula Health.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the hospital?

After spending a lot of time in and out of hospital over the past 30 years, I have a lot of empathy and understanding for people who are unwell and going through difficult times.  I stopped working a year ago after an extremely difficult time in my own life, but decided to give a little of my time back to the community. I have some physical limitations but volunteering at the hospital has helped me to put my own health issues and personal struggles into perspective.

How long have you been volunteering for?

For the past 10 years I have been a support group facilitator for sufferers of Crohns disease, and for people with an ostomy. I only started volunteering at Peninsula Health at the start of this year.

What volunteer roles do you do at Peninsula Health?

I work as a patient companion on ward 5FS.  I also work in the hospital library for a few hours each week, scanning and uploading historical documents into the online repository.

What do you do in your role as a patient companion volunteer?

Our main role is to assist any patients who may be unsettled, agitated or lonely. We help them to feel comforted with a quiet chat, a board game or even a hand massage. If there are patients who don’t have many visitors or family we can provide some companionship by sitting with them for a while. At meal times we assist those who need a little extra help. Some patients can be accompanied on a short walk around the ward, or down to the café.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work?

The best part of volunteering is knowing you have made a small difference to someone’s day. It’s wonderful to see that a patient’s experience in the hospital was possibly made a little brighter just by seeing a friendly face and having someone to chat to.

What would you say to other people who are considering volunteering at Peninsula Health?

I would definitely encourage others to become part of the volunteer network at Peninsula Health. There is a wide range of options available and the training and ongoing support has been fantastic. It gives a lot of personal satisfaction to be involved with such a wonderful team of people, and to feel like a very small part of a huge team.

Do you live locally on the Peninsula?

 I moved to Frankston 18 months ago and still enjoy getting out and exploring the area.  The Peninsula is the most beautiful place to live and I’m very grateful to be part of such a friendly community.

If you’d like to volunteer at Peninsula Health, you can find out more information online here

 

Jessica Mills
JMills@phcn.vic.gov.au