The PPC Family Support Volunteers uniquely support
children who have a life-limiting illness by providing
emotional and practical support in the home. Over time,
the PPC Family Support Volunteers often build special
bonds and trusting relationships with children, siblings
and families. There may be other volunteers who work in
Paediatric Palliative Care in the hospital and hospice/
respite facility such as biography volunteers who record
and transcribe a patient’s story.
Whilst rewarding, the role of a volunteer in PPC has its
challenges. The role can emotionally impact volunteers
who witness extremely sad events and make lasting
connections with families. There is, therefore, an
increased risk of developing symptoms of escalating
stress, compassion fatigue or burnout. Some of these
» Mental or physical exhaustion.
» Helplessness or powerlessness.
» A loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities.
» Worrying or headaches.
» Questioning personal beliefs
It is essential that PPC Family Support Volunteers care for
themselves while they do this vitally important work. Some
suggestions to maintain an optimal level of well-being are:
» Exploring what is needed physically, emotionally,
spiritually, and socially to remain as healthy as possible.
For example, exercising, meditating, laughing or sleeping.
» Finding nice, enjoyable or relaxing things to do.
» Practising self-compassion and kindness.
» Making a sustainable individual self-care plan.
» Contacting the Volunteer Coordinators to debrief or
express thoughts & emotions.
» Being self-aware and ‘checking in’ with self regularly.
» Setting physical and emotional boundaries.
» Connecting with peers to share mutual experiences
» Noticing, pausing and self-reflecting on personal and
» Developing a gratitude practice, such as journaling.
» Consider contacting your Volunteer Coordinator for
further details of counselling or other support available
in your state.
» Attending monthly volunteer meetings.
» Considering barriers to self-care, such as being too
busy or feeling selfish.