Upon completing Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach I have gained insight into a service that I was not entirely familiar with before undertaking this placement.
I feel this experience was very worthwhile as I am able to now understand when a client would be referred to palliative care and what palliative care can do to help support and assist the patient and their family/carer at end of life care giving quality of life. Palliative Care is often an overlooked service as community are not aware or educated on how the service can help with end of life care. This service can help reduce hospitalisations by caring for the patient in community and assisting with end of life care in particular keeping the patient comfortable and out of pain so they can still enjoy good quality of life.
On this placement I was also made aware that there is an under representation of Aboriginal patients using Palliative Care in our local area on the Central Coast. This made me realise that I could help educate and promote this service to our Aboriginal community so that they are aware that this service exists and is there to help. I was given education on this placement, as well, about Advanced Care Directives and Advanced Care Plans. I was not overly familiar with these documents and was happy to receive education so that I am able to pass this knowledge onto patients that I assist so that they are aware they can put these documents in place to help with End of Life Care.
I was exposed to both patient palliative care in a hospital setting and in a community setting. It was a great opportunity to see the way they both worked. I was able to see a couple of patients that were newly referred and how an initial assessment with these patients was conducted in the community setting and how the palliative care service can support these patients through end of life care with pain management, Occupational Therapy and physiotherapy assessments to establish equipment to help patient at home, such as hospital beds, wheelchairs, ramps etc. Some of these conversations around end of life are difficult to conduct so it was a worthwhile exercise seeing how the CNS would discuss with patients.
I can take this experience back and utilise in my current role as Aboriginal Hospital Liaison. I am often dealing with patients, families and carers at end of life stage and now feel more comfortable promoting this service and educating patients, families and carers on ways this valuable service can help support and assist them. I was extremely happy to be able to undertake this placement and learn more about palliative care, a service that would certainly be beneficial to patients entering end of life and offering quality of life to these patients. I am happy to advocate for patients to refer, register and utilise this very worthwhile service.