Tandara Lodge Community Care Inc. is situated in Sheffield (the town of murals), North West Tasmania.
Tandara operates a Residential Aged Care Facility and provides a range of health services. Tandara commenced in the late 1970’s and with extensions and upgrades now has a capacity of 46 beds (high and low care) to provide care for permanent residents as well as for respite and palliative care.
Their project had multiple sections which were focused on recognising residents approaching end-of-life. Recognition of the end-of-life journey created an action plan for the Tandara team to provide support to the resident’s family, friends, staff, and other residents, to acknowledge their grief and loss.
Tandara compiled information packs for families with relatives that are approaching end-of-life. These packs include information on:
- What to expect at end-of-life;
- What families can do to assist at end-of-life;
- How to deal with grief and loss including support services available;
- Who to contact after their relative has passed away.
The pack also contains a letter letting relatives know what Tandara can do for them and their loved ones in the final days of life. Feedback from families who have received these packs already have been positive and appreciative.
One of the biggest changes Tandara made was to acknowledge the resident who has passed away. No longer does it appear that the resident just “disappears”. Residents and staff are now told when someone is approaching their end-of-life journey. When the resident passes away it is announced and residents and staff form a guard of honour as the resident leaves their home for the last time. The resident leaves the facility covered in a specially designed quilt – made with the design of a mariners compass – to guide them on the last journey as they leave Tandara. A candle is lit and a card is put out for residents and staff to write their messages to family which is later forwarded on to the family.
A further aspect of the project is the introduction of after death audits. After death audits are now completed with staff across multiple disciplines to support staff to reflect on a resident’s death and identify areas where improvements could be made, e.g. symptom management interventions given and utilisation of anticipatory prescribing earlier in the journey.
The introduction of this project has allowed the team to recognise residents at end-of-life and equip them to care for and support the resident, their families at the end-of-life. The project also cares for and supports all residents and staff of Tandara.
An example of this was recently when a resident who had been a war veteran in his 103rd year of life approached end-of-life. Recognising that he only had days to live and would not make ANZAC day, staff organised an ANZAC service in his room with his family and staff. He passed away peacefully the next day. As he left Tandara the Australian flag was placed over him and the last post was playing. Residents and staff gathered in the foyer and outside the facility in a guard of honour. “It was a very emotional send off and the family appreciated what we did for him” stated Gaye.
This project and story was compiled for Tandara Lodge Community Care by:-
Gaye Mack – Director of Nursing, Catherine van Engen – Registered Nurse, Kymra Hay – Enrolled Nurse, and Kiri Gibson – Enrolled Nurse