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Volunteer Training Workshop

Apr 27 2006

{mosimage} This volunteer training program is the first of many we hope to conduct for our patient and care giver volunteers – in keeping with Max India's goal 2006, of taking forward the mission of TMF in the area of patient support.


The 22nd of April saw the most rewarding day. Once again Friends of Max, Bangalore Group did it. A word of appreciation to the core group consisting of Parameshwaran / Rema, Binu / Sheeba, Dr Shital Kiran / Seema, Avinash and Prakash. Their strong support was the foundation of this fruitful event. This volunteer training program is the first of many we hope to conduct for our patient and care giver volunteers – in keeping with Max India's goal 2006, of taking forward the mission of TMF in the area of patient support.

The venue was the beautiful Karunashraya Hospice Auditorium. Beautifully and esthetically designed and constructed, full of greenery, a pond full of colorful fishes swimming without fear, pink Bougainvilleas in full bloom, Karunashraya is the ideal complex that houses terminally sick patients.

The time schedule for the full day workshop was between 9:30 am to 5:30 pm with one hour lunch break at 1:00 pm.

We were looking at more than thirty volunteers participating in this first session. Viji conducted the training program bringing to effort her experience from previous such programs conducted under the aegis of the UICC (International Union against Cancer). Twenty seven volunteers participated in the program.

We had a registered counter manned by a patient volunteer, of course, and handed out the workshop kit consisting of Training materials for participants which included information sheets on workshop related topics, a medical glossary, TMF Brochures, Feedback forms and copies of the transcript of the Q & A from the June 5th meet.

We began by introducing ourselves – with a difference. Each of us turned to the person sitting next to us , spent few minutes chatting and then introduced each other to the whole group … no one would have guessed that all were meeting each other for the first time…the bonding was instant.

The participants were divided into groups according to the color of their name cards, who then broke into three groups to discuss, document and share their views, responses.

Topics discussed:

1) Why do we volunteer and what do we mean by volunteering?

Each group came up with amazing and enterprising points. For some it was giving emotional support, for few it was an inherent desire of happiness, while for few others it was a link between the physician and the patient, yet for others it was to create medical awareness.

2) Communication skills

Viji discussed the positive ways of verbal communication, non verbal communication, telephonic and electronic ways of communication. Emphasis was given to the tone and pitch while talking over phone, to respect the privacy of the other person, to be honest and positive in approach. Body language, listening skills also plays an important role, said Viji.

After lunch the second session started with the same response and eagerness. The groups were again given a topic to discuss and this time the question was

"What was your reaction when you were first diagnosed and what was your family's reaction?”

Everybody had one perfect answer to this quo…. “WHY ME ….?” Each of the participants came and shared their experiences and their families too. They all had tremendous support from their families.

3) Care given to care giver

A great deal of importance is given to the care giver, who plays an important role. The care giver needs to be cared too. Viji here stressed the need to be able to recognize the needs of the care giver, coping strategies, individual inputs, preventive measures and most important BURN OUT factors.

Outcome of the training program:

1) To provide support to the patients and family members
2) Conduct regular meetings under the guidance of the core group
3) To be a link between the physician and the patient
4) Create medical awareness
5) To care for the care giver

Above all it is to share and learn as we all know that…
TOGETHER WE SHARE AND LEARN.

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