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This week we’re encouraged to think about ‘What matters most?’ Palliative Care Week (20 – 26 May) aims to raise awareness about palliative care in the Australian community.
In our Seniors and Supported Living services, we focus on giving people choice. To improve how we give people choice, we are implementing our award-winning Positive Wellbeing Model of Care.
This model draws out people’s strengths, needs and preferences for care, while involving the people who are important to them. Doing this allows us to deliver holistic care that improves quality of life and allows people to be active and engaged.
This approach encourages people to have early conversations about what they would like to happen at the end of life, giving them greater opportunity for choice.
We want those in our care to experience the light of Christ in every aspect of their lives. We believe that by offering people dignity in death, we honour the importance and sacredness of their life.
For Julie Baker, a highly qualified Registered nurse with 40 years nursing experience, this is something she encounters and experiences every day.
She says the key to a palliative approach and ‘what matters most’ is choice.
Julie is the service manager at Clive Burdeu Aged Care Service at Hillcrest where she leads an experienced team of carers who care for and support 72 elderly people, their families and loved ones. The service specialises in aged care, dementia care and palliative care.
“It’s not about what we think people should do, it’s about their choice and knowing that their choices will be upheld at the end of their life,” Julie says.
A palliative approach acknowledges a person’s choice through documented advance care plans for improved end of life care.
“Talking about end of life care begins soon after a person comes into our care, not just in the last days or weeks of somebody’s life. It begins early, when people are able to communicate their needs and wishes openly.
“For families and loved ones this can be a difficult conversation to have. However, when they do it’s like a weight has been lifted and they understand that residential aged care is about much more than lifestyle, it’s about choice and care at the end of life.
“For families being aware of their loved ones choices, knowing what to expect and having open and honest conversations is paramount.
“Talking about dying requires knowing the person, and their family and loved ones, where they’re at and connecting with them.
“This begins the very first time a person and their family walk through our doors,” Julie says.
Find out more about the Churches of Christ Care palliative approach.