Twelve Days of Volunteering: Joy to the world and good health for all people from LaTrobe Community Health Services

Latrobe Community Health Service is one of Australia’s fastest growing health services.

“We’re here to support healthier individuals, families and communities. We are committed to preventing health problems through information and awareness. We are also committed to providing coordinated services that treat our clients as a whole person, and not as a series of isolated medical problems,” informs Adriana Pezzutto from Latrobe Community Health Service

LaTrobe Community Health Services have a reputation for quality care across a wide range of health services. The services include community-based health promotion programs, daily living and rehabilitation assistance, health checks and healthcare plans, medical care and nursing.

“We are particularly committed to helping the people who need us most, especially those with several health problems and high support needs.”

Adriana was attracted to her current role due to her experience in private recruitment. This was an opportunity to use those skills to recruit resilient, caring, kind and passionate individuals to help those who needed them the most.

“I have been given the opportunity to meet some amazing volunteers and learn about them, and their intrinsic reasons for volunteering.  I have been able to see some wonderful success stories for both client and volunteer, and see the true benefits of volunteering for the social and emotional wellbeing of an individual.”

LaTrobe Community Health have over 100 active volunteers. Some of these volunteers are volunteering up to 5 days per week as they love being able to give back to their community.

One of the programs LaTrobe Community Health Services offer is transport for medical appointments. These medical appointments can be local, to some of LaTrobe Community Health service sites, or to local hospitals and specialist services. They also offer medical transports to metropolitan areas coming from regional Gippsland. Through this program they are able to achieve HACC volunteer provision requirements.

“This year to date we have provided over 1200 hours of transport for clients to and from medical appointments.”

Latrobe Community Health Services are able to transport those requiring medical treatment, rehabilitation and other allied health services. They deal with clients who live by themselves, are isolated in their community or that are physically unable to drive themselves. This particular program is able to offer a peace of mind service, without the hassle of them navigating public transport or paying large fees for taxis.

“The individuals we help through this service would be at risk of not attending an important medical appointment, putting their own health in jeopardy or going without food to pay for transport. This program is able to show us that people can come together and support others in their community. We have some amazing drivers that know the importance of taking care of their own health, and appreciate the gratitude the receive from the clients, knowing that they can get to that doctor or to that appointment that will help them live a better, healthier life and extend their ability to live independently.”

This program is state funded and provides vehicles to transport clients. Without state support, Latrobe Community Health Services could not run this service. If this service was suspended, due to lack of funding, many individuals would not be attending their medical appointments.  As Adrianna reminds Volunteering Victoria;

“Specialists and hospitals can be daunting enough without adding the stress of transport and assistance. Gippsland is the home for so many and we have had many challenges to our community whether that be through disaster or closure of industry. What has been amazing, is to witness our resilience and our community camaraderie. Volunteering plays such an important role in our communities and beyond, from afar we can see the overall benefits but when you get closer and you get amongst these volunteers you learn so much more. You learn what humanity is truly about and that you are never really alone if you have the courage to reach out and find that person who has the heart to put their hand up and volunteer to support their community.”

LaTrobe Community Health Services volunteers have provided 18,796 hours in this calendar year so far. The organisation is continuing to recruit volunteers across multiple program areas. The Trauma Bear program has been able to donate 618 Buddy Bears and Little Buddies to services across Gippsland since August 2016. These bears are provided to children experiencing trauma or used as a distraction tool by reception staff. The bear program is only one of many services they provide to the community and they will continue to look at ways they can further support those in need.

Volunteer Value Gift to the Community

1200 hours of community transport to vital medical services and appointments

18,769 volunteer hours provided since Jan 1 to December 1 2016

That equates to $654,850.41 worth of volunteering for community

618 children comforted when experiencing trauma.

*hourly rate for volunteer was calculated using the Duncan Ironmonger Report 2016 projection

Congratulations LaTrobe Community Health Volunteers, #global applause joins with you today  to recognise all volunteers everywhere and the contribution they make.

Download the PDF version of the LaTrobe Community Health Service story.

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