End of life care

It is a common misconception that palliative care is only for those who are dying but in fact, its main focus is on the management of symptoms and maximising quality of life for patients and families.

In their daily work of treating and supporting patients with life limiting illness, Murdoch Community Hospice caregivers espouse the palliative care mantra that “the joy of living should not be lost in the
act of dying”.

Hospice Operations Manager Glenys Joplin at St John of God Murdoch Hospital says palliative care as a medical speciality has evolved and the Hospice now sees patients who are still undergoing active treatment.

“We do provide end of life care but even when time is short our aim is to manage symptoms to allow the patient and family valuable time together,” said Ms Joplin.

Palliative care can be a challenging environment so focussing on what caregivers can achieve and contribute is important.

Clinical Nurse Tracey Stanley, who has worked in the Murdoch Community Hospice for three years and aged care previously, says working in palliative care can sometimes be challenging but it provides her with an opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

“It can get confronting at times, but I think the combination of both natural resilience and some solid life experience can enable you to cope and give the best care that you
can,” says Ms Stanley.

“We are there at a significant moment in the lives of patients and their families and that, in itself, is a privilege.”

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