My name is Doris Mutie, I am a Kenyan by nationality. I am married with three beautiful daughters. I have lived in Canberra for about 5 years, after moving to Australia in 2006. My family and I enjoy living in Canberra because of its multicultural diversity.
For the last three years, I have worked at Morshead home where I’ve grown very fond of the residents and my colleagues. In my time as an aged care worker over the last fifteen years, I have worked with individuals with life-limiting illnesses and have watched their families go through emotionally draining circumstances. Through these experiences, I became more interested in learning about palliative care.In April, I was privileged to take part in a four day PEPA clinical placement on a palliative approach, which was held at Morshead Home and organised by Sue Turner the ACT PEPA Manager from Clare Holland House. There were lots of learning experiences throughout the four days with plenty of things to learn within that period. Most importantly, the fact that palliative care aims at improving the life for individuals with a life-limiting illness and their families by reducing their suffering through early identification. I also learnt how to improve the quality of life of palliative care residents by making them more comfortable through using different ways of relief from symptoms and the importance of frequent assessments to ensure interventions being used are useful and that they do not cause unwanted side effects, and that they should be stopped if not benefiting the resident/patient. Another thing that came up clearly was the importance of providing generous amount of information supported by written resources to residents and their family members, and also the importance of not avoiding bereaved people and that companionship of family and friends is essential.
Workplace activities implemented post placement include:
• Better signage with big print available for placing on door – to be used with Palliative, particularly EOL, resident’s. These signs are for directing visitors to staff, limiting time or number of visitors if required, stopping visitors walking in to room especially when something is happening for the resident (eg spending time with a loved one, time with minister, etc)
• Resource folder with plenty of palliative information, with information for staff, resident and family members. Located in nursing station.
• Alteration of pain charts to enable AIN’s to record pain and a section for completion by them if an RN or EEN requires notification. (chart only if no pain, chart and report if pain)
• Education of AIN’s regarding above use and other aspects of palliation pertinent to their scope of practice.
What I learnt has helped me to be able to face all work situations with more confidence and the materials compiled have helped other staff by improving the care provided to the residents with life limiting illnesses. It has also helped with providing more information to the families on how to cope with issues of terminal illnesses.