Palliative Care…it’s more than you think.
National Palliative Care Week - Sunday May 23 until Saturday May 29 2021. It's a time to shine a light on palliative care, its many benefits and that it is much more than “end of life care”.
Thinking about, talking about and considering care choices is something Mr and Mrs Bev and Barry Leach confronted together after Barry was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.
“We had a wonderful life together, being there for each other for 61 years,” said Bev as she thought about her experience of palliative care.
The couple were devastated when no further treatment was possible for Barry. It was then that Barry’s specialist referred them to Ballarat Hospice Care in March 2019. Bev remembered thinking that she did not know anything about palliative care or Ballarat Hospice Care.
Bev commented “I was floundering, I did not know where to go for help. Now that I think back, I don’t know what we would have done without Hospice. We were overwhelmed and completely thankful and grateful for the care we both received.”
Palliative care supports the patient, their carer and family. In Bev and Barry’s situation, Bev and their family cared for Barry at home until his death in June 2020.
“Everyone we met was caring, sensible and practical, giving us the confidence we needed to care for Barry at home. The team were never flustered, they understood what was important to us. They understood our determination to keep Barry at home with the family. They supported us with the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to care for him. This is what Barry and I wanted and the family and I wanted to do the best we could for him.”
“I am still surprised at what I learnt to do. “Cannot” is not in my vocabulary and I thought if the team have faith in me, then I can learn what I need to do. I was backed up all the way by my family, Ballarat Hospice Care, Specialists and our GP.”
When Barry died comfortably at home surrounded by his family it was difficult. Yet the family took great comfort in knowing they honoured his wishes and importantly they were with him. It is a time they remember as special, quiet and beautiful.
Since Barry’s death, Bev continues to be supported by the team at Ballarat Hospice Care through her bereavement.
“I had no idea how much I would miss Barry and I appreciate that everyone’s grief is different. I am learning so many new things since his death. I am grateful and appreciative that the care and support is there for me when I need it.”
Ballarat Hospice Care offers to continue to support families in their bereavement.
Ballarat Hospice Care CEO, Mrs Carita Clancy said “The palliative care offered by Ballarat Hospice Care guides the patient and their family without judgment; it is all about them; while giving them the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves. We educate and advocate in a gentle way with sensitivity and respect, helping them to understand the care required before and after death. This is offered at all levels; physical, social, spiritual and emotional. Working with and caring for people in their own homes at this vulnerable time is a privilege and we are grateful to all for inviting us into their lives and grateful to Bev and Barry for sharing their story.”
During National Palliative Care week, Ballarat Hospice Care is hosting a “What matters most to you?” community education session to explore Advance Care Planning
- Wednesday May 26 from 9:45-11:30am
- At Ballarat Hospice Care, 1836 Sturt Street Alfredton
- RSVP is essential P: 5333 1118 or register on Eventbrite