Compassionate High Quality Palliative Care in the Home

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MACS Complete Care is well placed to deliver compassionate, high quality palliative care for individuals in their own home. In partnership with Hospice Foundation Geelong, MACS Complete Care supports the whole person who is facing a life-limiting illness or condition, who values well-being, and in time, chooses to pass away in comfort and peace in their own home.

For a holistic approach doesn’t just treat physical symptoms. It also embraces social, spiritual, emotional and cultural needs. And MACS vision of over twenty years “where cultural diversity is truly celebrated and family and community remain connected,” speaks to a profound and enduring commitment to honouring difference when it comes to individual needs.

The MACS Complete Care Team understands that each individual receiving palliative care is different. And that not everyone who receives palliative care is about to die. Some people may live with their condition for an extended time; others have interludes of wellness; some may recover. Complete Care offers a service that is flexible and professional so that people can move in and out of palliative care as their needs change and that these needs can be met. Predominately, the service has delivered respite care for family members or friends caring for a palliative relative. But persons with a palliative diagnosis, who are unable to access a bed in a hospice facility or who do not have a carer, have also accessed the service.

Since February 2015, MACS Complete Care palliative care service has focused on the well-being and diverse needs of individuals and their families when they are faced with a life-limiting illness or condition. The service may help with a specific issue for a short time, or become more involved over a longer period of time. Palliative care is not just about care provided in the final stages of life. It’s around taking up a compassionate role in supporting crucial decisions about care and quality of life. The service upholds a client’s need for peace and those for whom they love who are involved in their care. In one instance, a MACS home respite carer created “normal” meals for children and an ensuing sense of calm when the client was unable to do this for her children.

Expert care planning around a person’s well-being is facilitated by MACS Well-being Advisor, Lyn McCarter. Over many years, Lyn has facilitated grief and loss programs for peak bodies. She delivered many varied personal development programs in Australia, New Zealand and the USA assisting people to live their lives according to their dreams and aspirations. She leads her palliative trained team, which is highly skilled in communication, in knowing the value of clients recognising who they really are, what is happening around them and exploring possibilities for peace and self-attunement. It might be matter of aligning beliefs of this person with a palliative diagnosis, to the goals he or she want to accomplish, and cementing the need for a heightened sense of security about conducting his or her own life.

Central parts of this approach are underpinned by solid partnerships between Complete Care and Barwon Health Palliative Care Team and St. John of God Hospital. http://www.barwonhealth.org.au/services/item/palliative-care

http://www.sjog.org.au/hospitals/subiaco_hospital/hospital_services/palliative_care.aspx

In one case, a family referred by Barwon Health accessed emergency assistance they needed for their loved one’s overnight care. This resulted in a major lessening of their distress. Palliative care is for anyone with a life-limiting illness who needs specialist support. It can help people with a wide range of conditions, such as cancers, chronic diseases, dementia, and degenerative conditions.

And people of all ages, cultures and beliefs can receive palliative care.

There are many reasons why people who choose to have palliative care in their own home. One of these is electing to have non-medical or non-interventionist care. It’s about having the freedom to choose and use complimentary therapies such as light massage, or culturally appropriate remedies like garlic. Exercising choice about pharmacological regimes and having more control over culturally appropriate planning and medical intervention might be on the radar.

Linked to this, is genuine choice about their place of death, feeling that it’s OK to be being at ease with one’s own environment. It brings on a sense of heightened privacy and comfort. It could even mean having a pet sleeping on the bed. After all, pets are sometimes seen as part of the family. They don’t have to be banished to the laundry or other hangouts reserved for outsiders. They can be conducive to having a calming, loving interaction where a person can just “be,” soaking up the warmth and affection of living things and life itself.

There are other benefits of living in one’s own space. The familiar environment and what it stands for. Where the heart is. Where everything’s in its right place. Where the stress of coping with the unknown takes a back seat. Favourite food could feature; home cooked meals are winners. It could be Mum’s homemade lasagna or meatloaf sprinkled with mozzarella. Perhaps Halal foods or a curry simmering with love that’s not prepared in a commercial kitchen. Where ice-cream can be scoffed down at any crazy time of the day or night and washed down with coffee. It’s whatever a person wants. They are the ones who get to choose.

Other benefits of palliative care in the home include living in an organic, natural environment when accessing care 24/7. It could be feeling sunlight steaming in on the face, where a person can look out at his or her special herb garden. If that’s someone’s thing, eating organic surpasses limp, white sandwiches dished up with additives and a sliver of chicken loaf.  And last but not least, going with feeling energized by the forces of nature and the fresh air that slides through an open window, perhaps even laced with salt from the sea.

And in quality, compassionate palliative care there will always be that special person who is there to listen to what someone needs. Then be there to cut the cloth to the contour of an individual goal or dream.

It’s all about making that goal or dream happen. When a smile comes in many languages.

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