Let’s face it, nobody likes to think or talk about it, but aged care homes are often places where people choose to spend the final chapter of their life.
Last week McLean Care celebrated National Palliative Care Week, and their dedicated palliative care team.
“Palliative Care means many different things to many different people, and whilst it has an official meaning, we at McLean think of it as an ongoing journey which continues to encompass choice, love, compassion and togetherness,” McLean Care residential manager Sarah Wade said.
“Our palliative care team is comprised of individuals who possess that special ‘something’ that makes them perfect for their role, and we are fiercely proud of them and the work that they do.”
National Palliative Care Week is held to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community.
The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’.
Despite the difficult nature of the job, Ms Wade said those who choose to work in this specialist area feel the experience doesn’t have to weigh them down.
Instead, many staff members said they find fulfillment in taking care of people in the final days of their lives.
“People often ask me what it’s like to work in palliative care, especially because I am often there with people who may be suffering, and are literally in the last moments of their lives,” enrolled nurse Alanah Postrak said.
She said sometimes people felt sorry for her and thought it was “depressing” to work with people who are dying.
“But I always smile, and tell them that my work isn’t just about dying. It is very much about supporting people to live their lives, despite end-of- life diagnoses,” she said.
“You come to understand, in this role, that it’s other people’s pain and feelings that matter, not your own. I also get to help their families and friends to cope with the loss of their loved ones.
“It’s a very fulfilling role; one which I love. I feel like I make a real difference.”
The philosophy behind specialist palliative care is that people wish to die what they themselves define as a”good death”.
It is about providing support that enables people to live as actively and as comfortably as possible, while being supported in their individual psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs.
Ms Wade said that Inverell was home to many passionate and dedicated carers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to give choice back to those who are most in need.