Making end of life discussions a part of life

Monday 20 May 2019

Villa Maria Catholic Homes

‘We might sound a bit blasé about death, but it’s part of life. It’s important for family to talk about it, and their wishes.’
That’s the message from Steve, Lynne and Suzanne, whose mother Pat recently passed away at Providence Residential Aged Care in Bacchus Marsh.

‘She still had her wits about her,’ said Lynne, ‘She knew she didn’t have long, and she wanted us to know what she wanted.’

19-25 May is National Palliative Care Week. It’s theme, ‘What matters most?’, addresses the need for Australians to plan for their end-of-life care and discuss it with loved ones and health professionals.

For 30 years, VMCH has delivered palliative care as an essential part of our services and Mission.

Two weeks before Pat passed away, her children wrote a letter to Providence staff including her wishes. Pat was made comfortable, and pastoral support was provided to her and the family.

‘I wish we knew earlier what mum’s rights were, and what we needed to do for her,’ said Lynne. ‘Once the plan was put in place, it was comforting to see how content she was, and we didn’t have to continually worry about her going to hospital and returning to the home at 2am.’

Palliative care is also about more than medication, says Suzanne.

‘It’s a multi-disciplinary approach. The spiritual side was also important to our mother, and the family. We were given a sense of peace as we knew our mother’s wishes were fulfilled.’

Steve said the palliative care provided to the entire family was invaluable.

‘We were treated like their family,’ said Steve. ‘Everyone made sure we had been fed, that we had a cuppa, or they came and gave us a big hug. We felt like we were just as important to them as mum was.’
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