Help with patient biography service sought

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The search is on in North Otago for a special sort of person who can help capture life stories.

Otago Community Hospice offers a patient biography service, and is looking for one or two volunteers willing to help patients to tell their own stories, volunteer co-ordinator Rebecca Shaw said.

“We are looking for someone who is confident and able to connect with people,” Ms Shaw said.

The volunteers needed to be able to follow someone’s story and present it well.

“Obviously we need confidentiality and understanding of boundaries, and professionalism as well.”

The process was “exceptionally rewarding” for patients’ families, she said.

“And I think it’s good for the patient to be able to reflect on their significant moments in their life as well. Some of that stuff that we sort of consider as normal is actually quite cool, and it’s great for the families to be able to have that.”

Volunteers would spend up to four sessions with a patient, and work with a transcriber and a person who would compile the biography.

The finished product was returned to the patient and their family in hard copy and also in electronic form, so it could be extended in any way. Up to 12 photos could also be included.

“We have got a service over in Central Otago for volunteers.. and we’re just extending it to North Otago and South Otago. We’ve managed to get a couple of people in South Otago, but nobody in North Otago yet,” Ms Shaw said.

Training sessions started soon, and a Zoom meeting was being held on March 2 for people out of Dunedin.

Those interested in volunteering should email rebecca.shaw@otagohospice.co.nz or phone her on 03 473 1012 as soon as possible.

Ideally by Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, she said.