Award For Long Serving Volunteer

Jeanette Beauglehole, PDH Volunteer and Trish Rawlings, Volunteer Coordinator
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
A dedicated Portland District Health volunteer has won a national award for helping people in their time of need.

Jeanette Beauglehole has received a 2014 National Volunteer Award for her long term commitment to community service. It was presented by Member for Wannon Dan Tehan on February 12.

The retired dairy farmer moved into Portland with her husband Huon and started her voluntary work with PDH about seven years ago.

Her volunteering has covered many areas, including helping with paperwork and records, palliative care, taking papers and sweets to patients in the wards and she is involved in hosting the annual remembrance service.

For Mrs Beauglehole volunteering every week at PDH isn’t hard work because she enjoys it so much.

You could say it's right for me,” she said. We've done so many different things in so many different departments.

Conversations with patients are a big thing for us. We love to have a chat with them. It can be really special. Having that opportunity to interact with patients is a special part of what we do.

Mrs Beauglehole, 69, has been involved in supporting many groups over the years, including helping at school and delivering Meals on Wheels, but now her efforts are centred totally on the hospital.

Mrs Beauglehole is a specially trained community palliative care volunteer and offers her time and support to patients, families and carers.

The nurses match the volunteers carefully with the client to make sure we can interact with them in a positive way, she said.

It is challenging but very rewarding work.

How you cope with it depends on what sort of understanding you have with life and death. Hopefully I can help people as they come towards the end of their lives, Mrs Beauglehole said.

I haven't had a situation that I haven't been able to manage. Some of the attitudes of people when they're reaching the end part of their life are really down to earth and the burdens of life that have weighed them down tend to be put aside.

It can be a real privilege to be sharing at that point in the lives. I find it very special and it has an effect on my everyday life.

Mrs Beauglehole described the award as a surreal experience.

I feel very comfortable at the hospital and interacting with the patients and the clients and the staff.

The volunteers wear red aprons and I always say we need to have a smile on our face to match our aprons, she said.

It's special to be able to knock on the door and say good morning to people and bring some cheer to their day.

PDH volunteer coordinator Trish Rawlings said the impact of Jeanette's involvement was evident in the positive responses she receives from patients, families and staff, in both the community and inpatient settings.

Jeanette has on many occasions been the link between patients and the outside world. She always carries herself with professionalism and is an amazing representative for the volunteer group, she said.

Jeanette is most proud of the work she does at PDH and is a strong advocate for volunteer involvement in the Portland area.

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