Bribie volunteers making huge impact

Volunteers at Churches of Christ Care Bribie Island Aged Care Service are making a huge impact to the lives of some of islands oldest and frailest residents.

The aged care service, on Foley Street, has a dedicated group of more than 100 volunteers who generously give their time to help being uplift to the lives of the residents.

Service Manager Anna Ward said that volunteers at the 128-bed service are also involved in a wide range of other activities that focus on the wellbeing of residents.

“Our volunteers willingly donate their time and skills, adding value to the great work being achieved by our paid workforce, and most importantly they are donating their time to connect with and build a sense of community around the vulnerable people we are all here to serve.”

Bribie Island Aged Care Service celebrate their volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week 2018 (21-27 May) with a special afternoon event on Wednesday 23 May from 1 pm - 3 pm, where they will thank their wonderful volunteers for their dedication and commitment to their residents.

Volunteers help in a range of programs across the service, including taking part in the Active Volunteers in Dementia (AViD) pilot program.

“The project is helping people living with dementia, as well as the volunteers who are supporting them,” Ms Ward said.

“This program prepares and educates volunteers to better interact with people living with dementia. They c training to improve their knowledge and, so that they can meaningfully participate and engaging in one-on-one and small group activities.”

Ms Ward said the program is a benefit to all involved, with five volunteers and 17 residents taking part..

 “For the volunteers, it helps to build skills and knowledge in supporting a person living with dementia, to be part of a team with common goals and satisfaction and motivation through making a difference,” she said.

“Through the engagement with the volunteer, their wellbeing can be improved, as well as the feeling of being valued and being and treated as an individual.”

The AViD program aims to better prepare volunteers to interact and support people living with dementia. It is built on the award winning Positive Wellbeing Model of Care initiative developed by Churches of Christ in Queensland. This model aims to increase wellbeing through providing care and activities based on an individual’s own preferences.

The AViD program has been a research project between Churches of Christ in Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland, discerning the impact of a specifically tailored volunteer program on the wellbeing of people living with dementia in aged care.  While there are similar hospital-based programs that have shown good outcomes, there are many differences between hospitals and the residential aged care environment, which makes it imperative to examine the impact of a structured volunteer program within these services.

Training covered a broad range of topics including dementia and its impact, resident’s life history; evidence-based communication techniques; meaningful activities; and social and individual interactions.

"Volunteers attended four half-day workshops along with one-on-one mentoring sessions while working with people living with dementia, and attended monthly peer support meetings to discuss their views, feelings, thoughts and experiences," Ms Ward said.

“We have seen the program suggest, subjectively, that volunteers are extremely satisfied with the training and mentorship provided and expressed positive interactions and relationships with the people they were visiting. Additionally, their positive attitudes towards people living with dementia increased significantly.”

Churches of Christ in Queensland thanks the 1,400 registered volunteers who assist across their communities.

Posted May 21, 2018 in Media releases