Andrew is a trained peer support volunteer at Limbs 4 Life, an organisation that provides information and support to amputees and their families. Working across a range of different projects for a variety of employers, Andrew’s day can be as varied as the places he visits. No two days are the same. As a peer support volunteer, Andrew’s role is primarily to visit people who are facing amputation, or those who are new amputees. Rather than counselling, the role is about providing information and support that is relevant and timely to the individual.
06:30: I wake up, do some stretching, and most importantly, check my residual limb, prior to putting on my prosthetic leg. From experience, I need to be completely awake to make sure the prosthesis is correctly aligned prior to standing up for the first time that day. I enjoy a healthy protein shake for breakfast whilst listening to a news bulletin.
08:00: I check my emails to find out if there have been any new peer support requests that need to be followed up. I then check my diary to see where I’m going today, and what the day’s work will entail. Before I head out, I collect and pack some Limbs 4 Life brochures, A Practical Guide, Amputee Diaries, Welcome Packs and anything else required for the day.
09:00: I leave the house and drive to the State Rehabilitation Centre at Fiona Stanley Hospital. On arrival, I check in with the occupational therapist and social worker staff to let them know I’m onsite. Discussions are usually had around access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), current amputee enquiries and requirements for staff in-service training. I am currently developing the required skills to deliver that training face to face, but alternatively Limbs 4 Life will arrange for online training with members of the multidisciplinary team. I visit the Amputee Common Room and refill the information stand with flyers and printed health literature.
10:00: I visit the Rehab Gym to meet and mingle with new amputees and engage them in conversation. These conversations quite often lead to other things such as follow-up visits, assistance and guidance with prosthetic providers and helping them to understand and navigate the various systems that the new amputees are required to understand. The new amputees like the fact that there is someone who is willing to come and spend some time with them in rehab, but also that they know there is assistance long term, if they require it. I also take the opportunity to talk with the staff in the gym.
12:00: I take a break to get some lunch in the hospital food court. Invariably, there will be more amputees there, so they usually engage in conversation whilst having lunch. I find that this is a great time to interact not only with amputees, but also their families. This is a vital part of the work that peer support volunteers engage in. Being able to talk with the families will give everyone a better idea of what to expect in the coming days, weeks and months.
14:00: I return to my home office to write notes on the day’s visits and send them to the Limbs 4 Life office. In the coming days I will organise any follow-ups that are required from today’s visits.
I conduct a quick stocktake of the health literature I have on hand and check for any emails from Limbs 4 Life requesting additional copies of resources. Next, I check the amputee group’s Facebook page to see if anyone has posted questions that I can respond to.
A Day in the Life of a Limbs 4 Life peer support volunteer Source link A Day in the Life of a Limbs 4 Life peer support volunteer