Volunteer Profile: Jane Wayte - Housekeeping volunteer
Jane Wayte has been a volunteer with Otago Community Hospice for 16 years. She talks here about how she became involved, and what Hospice means to her.
“I got involved after going to a fundraising dinner in Kaikorai Valley with Jo Seagar who was a Hospice ambassador. Jo told a story about when her Dad was dying. They got the kids together and had a dinner as a family and then afterwards they practiced carrying a coffin by carrying a sofa up and down the driveway. I thought for people to be able to approach death like that; people who can encourage us to approach death without fear – that was a good core. I was impressed.
That was 16 years ago.
So I put my hand up to volunteer and have been doing weekend housekeeping ever since. I also helped Lyn Chapman out in the early days with functions. I volunteer about twice a month, but also help out when shifts are needed to be picked up.
For the last year I have also been cleaning Craig House. This house is all about the families. I really like to be able to ensure they have a pleasant place to go to when they have loved ones in the Hospice Inpatient Unit. I want it to feel like home for them, to be warm and comforting.
I have a passion for the care that Hospice provides. I have experienced the Hospice service when my mother was in Nurse Maude in Christchurch. I was able to spend the night there, keeping her company. We gathered around her as a family recalling the funny stories, all laughing. She couldn’t talk at that stage, but she could hear us all there.
I don’t find it scary being at the Hospice. You have to be respectful and have discretion in certain situations but the staff are incredibly helpful.
The focus is on the living and not the dying. In the Hospice there is music and laughter, it is about making the most of life and, of course, supporting people at times of real emotional need.
Everyone’s affected differently, but the staff are wonderful – they always take the time to talk with patients, and everyone has a key part to play and it feels connected.
I would encourage anyone to come along and have a chat about volunteering. It’s an opportunity to really do something to contribute to a very valuable service, and also to be appreciated.”