End-of-life care with dignity
WHILE in August a 49-year-old Banora Point mother was told she was ineligible for in-home palliative care, the story was different for Terranora mother Lisa Dolan, who died in March.
Last week the Tweed Daily News reported that funding cutbacks in effect on July 1 had led to Donna Harrison missing out on one of a limited number of in-home packages through Feros, an aged care provider.
In contrast, Lisa Dolan, who died in March, also 49, had end-of-life care in her Terranora home.
She was discharged from The Tweed Hospital to in-home care bolstered by Tweed Palliative Support (TPS) and then cared for at the Wedgetail hospice retreat in Dulguigan.
Daughters Rebekah, 19, and Kaitlin, 14, and their father Dave, spoke highly of the quality of nursing during this time.
"When Lisa came home after having a seizure in December last year, we thought she wouldn't make it," Mr Dolan said.
"Meredith from Tweed Palliative Support came into our lives like a force of nature, it was amazing.
"Whatever we needed, she supplied it, with no delay."
Mr Dolan said a hospital bed, a ramp for the wheelchair, grip mat and shower chair were provided for his wife's comfort.
Lisa's health improved at home and she began to start "making plans" for her cancer remission, but suffered a sudden seizure.
She had two options - end-of-life care in the hospital's fledgling 32-bed ward, which is shared with often disruptive dementia patients, or free care provided by the Wedgetail Retreat.
An ambulance took her to Wedgetail and she stayed there for her last six weeks, following a four-year battle with cancer.
There were registered nurses, assistants in nursing, volunteers to cook meals and counselling for the grieving family.
"We had a really great experience in a very terrible situation," Mr Dolan said.
"I could not recommend them highly enough."
The family has shared its tragic experience to call for urgent funding for the hospice.
This week the Health Minister Jillian Skinner told the Tweed Daily News that in-home palliative care state-funded packages for all ages would be made available to Tweed residents through Silver Chain, starting this week.
The company is new to the Tweed and has won the tender to provide in-home care, instead of TPS.
Silver Chain will provide a nurse twice daily.