Helping people with life-limiting illnesses during a pandemic has required some rethinks by the team at Wimmera Palliative Care.
The team covers an area of 37,000 sq km that takes in Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera and Horsham districts, supporting people to live as well as possible, for as long as possible.
Their work in caring for their patient's physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs is in the spotlight as part of National Palliative Care Week, which started on Monday. This year the week has the theme "Palliative Care... It's more than you think".
COVID-19 has altered the way that Wimmera Palliative Care Services has supported patients who are a home, in aged care facilities and in hospital.
- Victorian government announces further easing of COVID-19 restrictions
- One of my Mother's Day gifts tried to kill me | A Mum's World
- Nhill police catch man driving at 162km/h on Western Highway at Lawloit
- While we are in tough times, I ask "can we utilise our position?" | Mayoral Matters | Hindmarsh Shire
The team includes WHCG nurse practitioner Maire Coffey and registered nurses Jenny Ellis, Sharyn Meyer, Zoe Frew, Jody Membrey and Catherine Finlay.
Ms Coffey said the team had altered its delivery due to lockdown restrictions.
"We've been unable to review patients in other facilities for hospitals and only through urgent visits at home," she said.
"To do this we have had the benefit of Sharyn Cook and Nicole Miller joining our team to ensure we can still support as many people as possible."
The team works with the patient's local doctors, nurses and allied health care teams to provide care.
They can also coordinate specialist consultations for patients with the palliative care doctors and nurse practitioners from Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team.
Palliative care nurse Sharyn Meyer said the team was using the week to reflect on the ever changing role they fulfilled while caring for their community.
"We are often humbled by the privilege we have when families open up their lives and allow us to be involved at such a personal and challenging time," Ms Meyer said.
"We find ourselves constantly amazed at the resilience of patients, families and carers as they navigate through one of the most difficult times in their lives.
"We hope people will consider palliative care being not only about death, but living as well as you can with a terminal illness."
What is palliative care
Palliative care is about:
- Treating symptoms and making patients comfortable when cure is not possible or is unlikely
- Supporting patients to have the best quality of life possible
- Supporting family and carers during the patient's illness and during bereavement if required
- Helping with not just the physical problems, but the emotional, spiritual, and social issues that may happen as a result of illness.