Margaret Duncan Chapeau levé!

Margaret Duncan Supporting palliative care patients
mars 07, 2010

Margaret Duncan: Supporting palliative care patients
With a kind heart and helping hands, Margaret Duncan has been showing support for palliative care patients and their families at Welland hospital for the past 10 years.

"When we come here, our purpose is to give comfort to the patient, to be here for the family," said the Wainfleet resident.

Duncan takes pride in providing compassionate care to patients faced with life-limiting illnesses, and showing support for families coping with their loved one's circumstance.

Palliative care volunteers are often called in to offer relief to families, stepping in to watch over their loved ones and provide care in their absence. This allows family members the chance to get much needed rest, go home for a change of clothes and a shower, or to have something to eat, Duncan said.

For families who live out of town, she said there's comfort in knowing someone is with their loved one when they're unable to be.

"We're there. We talk with them. We listen. That's the most important part, we listen to them. They have some great stories."

Duncan's motto for the program, which is displayed on her badge, is "kind hearts, helping hands."

"The greatest gift a palliative care volunteer can give is the gift to listen with love and understanding."

Duncan originally became involved in the program after palliative care nurse Nancy Riou, who formed the palliative care team in Welland, asked her to come on board. Once involved, Duncan discovered she loved volunteering with the program. "I just love it, just love being with these patients," she said. 

Duncan knows that sometimes when her phone rings at home, she has to "drop everything" because someone is in need and may not have much time. "You don't want that patient to be alone. He needs someone there, someone to take his hand. We don't always talk, just sit and give comfort," she said.

"The patients are appreciative that someone's there. Hopefully it's comforting to know someone's there."

Families are often very grateful for the services volunteers provide, Duncan said, making it a "very rewarding program."

Duncan has no intentions of retiring from her volunteer work any time soon.
"I want to stay active, everyday is a new experience. (Volunteering) gives me something to look forward to every day."

Excerpts from “Showing Support for palliative patients” by Maryanne Firth, Welland Tribune, March 7, 2010

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