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Communication with a patient is equally as important as any physical assessment, according to palliative care nurse specialist Janine Lynch.

“Palliative care, from a nursing perspective, is actively endeavouring to relieve physical, psychosocial and spiritual distress,” Mrs Lynch said.

Mrs Lynch said she worked with the patient to determine their level of comfort and any symptoms.

“We might be able to manage their symptoms but there could be spiritual distress.

“There are obvious visual signs but there are non-visual cues. It’s not always about what you can see.

“Building up a trust is really important to a Ballarat Hospice Care nurse.

“We need to see them as they are so visiting them at home is really good.

“There’s a lot of observation and assessment within that environment.”

“We’re nursing the patient but also caring for the carers.”

Mrs Lynch became a palliative care nurse specialist nearly six years ago after 18 years as a renal care nurse.

She can see five patients a day in their homes, and can triage up to 20 if she is working at Ballarat Hospice Care on the triage desk.

“It’s focused on a need’s basis and Ballarat Hospice Care is very individual with that.”

Ballarat Hospice Care palliative care nurse specialists work to support the 24 hour service, and are therefore rostered after hours seven days a week.

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