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September 2014 News

Hospital volunteers making a big difference

  • Written by  Brooke Duncan
Toowoomba Base Hospital Pastoral Carers David Johnstone and Joan Meston. Photo: Provided

Pastoral care volunteers at Toowoomba Base Hospital are making a difference in the lives of patients from across Queensland.

As a part of patients’ holistic welfare, pastoral care involves spiritual and emotional aid for patients and their families.

Pastoral care worker David Johnstone said volunteers play a massive role, comprising over three-quarters of carers.

“It’s about people having someone to listen to their story,” Mr Johnstone said.

While he enjoys his work, Mr Johnstone said it can be challenging.

“Some of the circumstances can be very sad, but then you also get the joy ones where you see people recovered,” he said.

“Then they tell you that they’re thankful that you were there. People have said, more than once, you’ve been their rock.”

The Toowoomba Base Hospital pastoral care department are looking for new volunteers.

“We always need more,” Mr Johnstone said.

As an ecumenical service, volunteers come from all denominations.

“This is a real outworking of that vision for Christian unity,” Mr Johnstone said.

Prospective volunteers can contact Toowoomba Base Hospital for information. Before volunteering, a year-long training course is provided for one day a week, covering both theory and practical visiting.

Pastoral care volunteer of thirteen years Joan Meston said a friend inspired her to do the course.

“I thought: ‘that’s something I could do,’” Ms Meston said.

She said volunteering can be very challenging, but she loves it.

“It’s about being present with people who are often in crisis and it’s about being Jesus’ presence.”

To find out more about volunteering, contact the Toowoomba Base Hospital pastoral care team on 4616 6415.

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