The Alfred's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) volunteer team has won a prestigious new State award in recognition of the services provided during Victoria's worst ever bushfires.

The ICU team were awarded equal first in the team category at the inaugural 2009 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards.

In the Alfred's ICU, family members often need support to deal with their feelings of helplessness as they watch loved ones fighting for their lives.

On 8 February, family members who had been affected by the devastation of Black Saturday found their way to The Alfred's ICU - many arriving traumatised, having witnessed destruction on a scale never seen before.

According to Volunteer Manager Gillian Wilson, one of the most important benefits of having volunteers in place was that it allowed nursing staff and social workers to better manage the needs of patients and family members.

"This particular group was hand picked for the ICU role, with all team members possessing wonderful empathy and understanding of the high-energy intensive care environment."

As a small group of eight, they worked an amazing total of 222 hours in just 14 days.

The ICU volunteers made themselves available to family members: listening, comforting and offering support on many levels. They also provided extra support to ICU staff members who were working under enormous pressure.

Congratulations to each of the volunteers who contributed so many hours during such a difficult time.

Herald-Sun Article about our Award winning Volunteers (916kb PDF)

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