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We hear what you say
Creating a Volunteer Training Program to support the Advance Care Planning Process
  1. J Renton,
  2. K Detering,
  3. J Fletcher,
  4. J Davis and
  5. W Silvester
  1. Respecting Patient Choices, Austin Health, Melbourne


Introduction The ageing population and the increasing need advance care planning (ACP) increase the need to bring ACP to the community's attention. Limited resources led us to develop a group of volunteers to raise public awareness through group presentations.

Aim To create and pilot a structured volunteer program using a professional volunteer workforce to provide ACP education to community and outpatient groups.

Process A needs analysis was completed, along with identification of gaps within our service. A volunteer selection, screening and training program were developed. The key themes addressed in the training include:

  • ACP

  • Public speaking

  • Answering difficult questions

  • Using available resources

  • Processes of coordinated ACP.

Results Following training, volunteers began presentations to service clubs (eg Rotary, Apex), church groups and hospital rehabilitation programs. Evaluation on each stage of the project occurred. Ongoing support and performance assessment of volunteers occurred to maintain quality standards and ensure presentations remain focused on ACP.

Conclusion This pilot project demonstrates the ability to create, within existing infrastructure, a volunteer program to deliver the ACP message to the community. This process has highlighted a broader potential for volunteers to facilitate specific ACP assistance. The community ownership of the volunteer program means that the ACP needs of the community are being heard and addressed and solutions are being created from within the community.

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