Braveheart volunteer Carolyon shares lived experience with cardiac patients

13 February 2024
Wesley Hospital Braveheart volunteer Carolyon Young.

After a career in healthcare – and a triple-bypass in 2021 – Braveheart volunteer Carolyon Young decided to use her experience to offer companionship and support to heart patients at The Wesley Hospital.

Carolyon is one of the fantastic specialised volunteers at the Wesley, who service a specific ward or clinical area using their own lived experiences to help others. In particular, Bravehearts volunteer with cardiology, coronary care and cardiac patients.

After retiring from the health sector in 2019, Carolyon began volunteering at the Wesley, helping the discharge planning nurses with administrative tasks and office support – a task she enjoys, as the nurses are always very busy.

However, when Carolyon had triple bypass surgery at the Wesley in 2021, she was motivated to come back and volunteer in the cardiac ward.

“When I returned I saw they were looking for Braveheart volunteers so I decided to apply for the role,” she says.

“Coming into hospital can be a daunting and stressful experience for anyone. They speak with so many clinicians, sometimes it’s reassuring to speak with someone who has been through a similar experience.”

Clinical Nurse Manager Cameron East agrees. “Carolyon is always kind, reassuring and compassionate. The feedback I’ve received from patients is that they feel more reassured after speaking with Carolyon and chatting with someone who has been right where they are.”

Each shift, Carolyon meets with the Nurse Manager on the floor, who tells her which patients may benefit from a visit.

“I will then spend time with them and their loved ones, answering questions and giving non-clinical advice,” she says. “I think it’s a great initiative, some of the patients here are from regional and remote areas so they don’t have many visitors. They do really appreciate the company.”

Change lives, yours included

At present, Carolyon is mentoring new Bravehearts volunteers.

“We need more volunteers to support as many cardiac patients at the hospital as possible,” she says.

“Volunteering with The Wesley Hospital is very rewarding. Being a Braveheart volunteer has allowed me to help people and give back to the community. The hospital is a wonderful place to be; it’s so friendly and inviting. We have lovely supportive management, and you can make friends and social connections. I would highly recommend volunteering to anyone.”

Carolyon wants to continue volunteering in the future: “As long as I am able, I will volunteer.”

If you would like to volunteer at The Wesley Hospital, and change lives, yours included, visit our Volunteer page. The Wesley is proudly part of the UnitingCare family – read more volunteer stories in UnitingCare’s Volunteer Impact Report.

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