Wauchope hospital recognises National Palliative Care week 2019 by debunking myths around care

EMPOWER: Susanne Pritchard, Nicole Edwards and Jodi Gallagher were at Wauchope IGA talking about palliative care options. PHOTO: Laura Telford.
EMPOWER: Susanne Pritchard, Nicole Edwards and Jodi Gallagher were at Wauchope IGA talking about palliative care options. PHOTO: Laura Telford.

When you think of palliative care most people think about death and dying but that is one of the myths hoping to be debunked during National Palliative Care Week 2019.

Susanne Pritchard, Nicole Edwards and Jodi Gallagher from the palliative care unit at Wauchope Hospital hosted a public information session on May 21 talking to people about how palliative care can assist people with chronic and terminal illnesses.

"Palliative care is about improving the quality of life for someone living with a chronic, life limiting or terminal illness," Ms Pritchard said.

"It is not necessarily end of life care but rather giving assistance to help manage symptoms of an illness that is not going away.

"When we talk about palliative care we are talking about a multi disciplinary team made up of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals coming together to help manage conditions."

She said the care that can be provided in palliative care goes far beyond just medication and managing pain.

"The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for patients, their families and carers by providing care that addresses the many needs patients, families and carers have including physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual," she said.

"The aim is to help a person live as well as possible but support is also given to help families and carers."

Ms Edwards said people's perception and fear of palliative care can stop them reaching out for help and that is something they hoped the stall would help with.

"Palliative care can happen at home or in hospital and there are lots of options for people," Ms Edwards said.

"We are wanting to raise awareness that palliative care is not where you come to die but a place where we can help manage pain and other symptoms.

"Often people are worried or scared to come to palliative care but after coming they are so thankful that we are able to help.

"In palliative care we sit down with people and talk about their goals and wishes and then work out how to achieve them."

Ms Edwards said the other part of information session was about talking to people about Advance Care Directives so loved ones know your wishes when the time comes.

"Advance Care Planning is an important process that helps people plan for future care and for a time when they aren't able to make their wishes known," she said.

"It is only used when you don't have the capacity to decide for yourself or able to communicate you wishes anymore.

"No one wants something bad or sad to happen but having these conversations when you are fit and healthy can alleviate any confusion when something does happen."

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