Neil Finn, 2000
Our team of palliative care specialists are experienced in providing support, answering questions and offering holistic care in your home.Your Palliative Care Team includes:
( Son and carer of a client, Jan 2017)
Daughter and carer of a client (Nov 2016)
(Family, Oct 2016)
Our nurses have specialist palliative care training and are used to looking after people at home. We specialise in pain and symptom management and psychological support. Our focus is to improve your quality of life and comfort and to support your life choices.
We provide planned visits Monday to Friday with weekend visits scheduled as required.
A 24 hour on-call telephone support service is available. You can talk with our trained staff during office hours. We work with Royal District Nursing Service and Koo Wee Rup Regional Health Service to provide after-hours support – either on the phone or at home.Palliative Care Nurse Practitioners
Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses who practice at an advanced level – they’re our Super Nurses. They have the expertise to diagnose and treat people of all ages with a variety of acute or chronic health conditions. They can interpret diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe essential medications and provide education, counselling and support.Specialist Palliative Care Doctor
Your GP and specialist are still your main medical care providers. Palliative Care South East has a Palliative Care Doctor who can provide consultancy, support and advice to your GP and your care team about symptom management.
You may feel lost, confused, overwhelmed or just need to talk to someone - our counsellors provide emotional support for you and your family and carers, at all stages of your journey. Counselling may help you to learn new ways to cope with and respond to the different stages of your illness.
The Social Worker helps you and your family deal with the personal and social problems of illness, disability and impending death. The social worker can help by making referrals to community services (eg: financial help, home help, respite) and provides support to you and your family.
The Occupational Therapist (OT) can work with you and your family or carer to help you to continue to live a full and normal life that is meaningful to you.
The OT can assist with providing practical solutions for activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, walking, eating, doing housework, leisure, etc).They will visit you in your home and conduct an assessment. They will then suggest improvements such as:
The OT also has a role in pain control through positioning, pressure relief and relaxation techniques.
Our Spiritual Care Worker can provide spiritual support for you and your family and carer inclusive of all cultures and regardless of religious or spiritual orientation. The focus is on “being with” you and helping you think about what has meaning to you such as your joys, sorrows, pain, fears, guilt and hopes.
Palliative Care Volunteers are an integral part of the Palliative Care South East team and may be involved in many different areas of your care. These
may include providing you with companionship, spending time with you to allow your carer time out from the caring role, practical assistance (shopping;
driving to appointments; opportunities for outings), and assisting you to develop a biography of your life through listening and recording those events
that are important to you through our “Sharing My Story” program.
All of the Volunteers complete a special course in palliative care so that they can support you.
Palliative Care South East staff are able to assist you and your family and carers with Advance Care Planning.
Advance Care Planning is a process of thinking about, talking about, and writing down your future health care preferences. An Advance Care Plan only comes into effect if you become unwell and unable to make or communicate your preferences for yourself. Information in your Advance Care Plan will guide your family and doctor when making medical treatment decisions on your behalf.
Our staff use an approach called ‘A C P in 3-steps’; a simple way for understanding and doing Advance Care Planning:
Advance = Appoint another
You can sign a legal form making it clear who YOU want to make MEDICAL DECISIONS for you if you are too sick to do it yourself. This person is known as the Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
Care = Chat and Communicate
Talk to your Medical Treatment Decision Maker, family, friends and doctors about your values, beliefs and healthcare preferences. Tell them about what is important for you. Also, talk to your doctors or other health professionals to find out more about what might be ahead.
Planning = Put it on Paper
If there is something you feel strongly about, you can write it down in an Advance Care Directive, describing your healthcare preferences and values, or instructions for future medical treatment decisions. You may also like to do this if you have no one to appoint. Give copies of these documents to your Medical Treatment Decision Maker, your doctors, hospital and others involved in your care.
Always remember we are here to help you and your family or carer. Simply ask one of your team. If we don’t know the answer, we will find out for you.
Advanced illness and its treatment can leave you with unpleasant symptoms. The palliative care nurses who visit your home will help prevent, manage and resolve common symptoms that may appear. They are experts in controlling symptoms such as pain.
Don’t be too embarrassed to speak with your nurse about your symptoms. It is important to be honest when talking with your nurse. We want to help to relieve your symptoms so that you can have good quality of life.
Medical care is provided by your GP and specialist. Our medical and nursing team will work with your GP and specialists to make sure you have the best symptom management to suit your needs.You may need palliative medications to treat and/or prevent symptoms associated with your illness. These include symptoms such as
The main benefit of these palliative medications is to improve the quality of your life. Our medical and nursing team will explain the need for these medications to you and your family or carer. We will help you to get these medications to use at home.
You have been told that you have a life threatening illness….. You may be in shock…… You may feel like you’re on a roller coaster….. You may feel numb……..There are many different emotions that you might feel and that's OK. Everyone reacts differently to being told that they have a life threatening illness. Some of the feelings you may experience are:
Anxiety, shock, fear, anger, sadness, irritability, numbness, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, despair, acceptance.
Disbelief, confusion, worry, self judgement, preoccupation with illness or death, regrets.
Breathlessness, lack of energy, dizziness, muscle weakness, over-sensitivity to noise, hollowness in the stomach, tightness in the chest, tightness in the throat, dry mouth.
Crying, restlessness, appetite loss, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance, absentmindedness, vivid dreams.
Palliative Care South East has many different services to help you – you can talk with our Counsellors, Social Workers, Spiritual Care Worker or our trained Volunteers. You can also work with our Music Therapist to express your feelings through music.
We are here to help you. Talk to us when we visit or call us on 03 5991 1300 at any time.
Many people think that they are going through this experience alone. But you’re not. Talk with your family and friends when you feel you can. We are here too. Contact Palliative Care South East to talk with us about your emotional challenges. Our experienced team are here to help.Some helpful tips are listed here: