As palliative patients near the end of their lives, they know loyal volunteers will be right there beside them.
It might be to keep them company, help with daily tasks and to offer practical and emotional support. In some cases they become a friend and confidant for the patient at a difficult time.
Warrnambool & District Community Hospice volunteers Merran Koren, Glen Riddle and Helen Dunn are just some of the 50-odd specially-trained hospice volunteers across the region who help thankful patients who want to, remain at home.
"There's an overwhelming gratitude that we've been there and they say 'we couldn't have done it and stayed at home without that support'," Ms Koren said.
This week is National Palliative Care Week and Hospice in the Home wants to raise awareness of the free service it provides, supporting families to care for loved ones through the final stage of life.
The trio say the relationships they build was one of the special parts of the role.
"It's actually an honour to be invited into their home to be able to help and to be there for them," Mrs Dunn said. "It's an honour and a privilege."
Mr Riddle said volunteers gave the person another outlet and were "someone new and fresh to talk to and different conversations".
Support co-ordinator Leeona van Duynhoven said some of their clients were in their third year of support. She encouraged families to call the service early-on which helped volunteers and patients build a rapport, put supports in place and get to know the family.
"People think palliative is the last few days or weeks, it's not that, it's the months or year or two before," she said.
For more information about accessing Hospice in the Home, visit warrnamboolhospice.org.au/referrals or call 5563 3220 to discuss options and referrals.
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