Need for palliative care continues to grow, says Wesley expert

26-05-2015
The Wesley Hospital is focusing on its Palliative Care Program as part of National Palliative Care Week (May 24-30).

 
Dr Ralph McConaghy, Director of the Wesley Palliative Care Service there was an erroneous view that palliative care was only for patients at the very end of life.

 “Palliative care is specialised care for patients with a life threatening illness. It does not require the patient to be at the very end of life, although this erroneous belief is still widely held.

 “Naturally, high quality end-of-life care remains a core component of palliative care practice.

 “It is an active and comprehensive form of care and the goal is to prevent and relieve suffering for patients and families, regardless of the stage of disease or the need for other therapies, Dr McConaghy said.

 Gary Judson, Clinical Nurse Manager of the Wesley Palliative Care Unit, said caring for patients with a life-threatening illness was very challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

 “Our multidisciplinary team provides practical and emotional support to patients and their families at a very critical stage of life.

 “We treat our patients with the greatest care and respect, helping manage physical symptoms like pain and nausea as well as psycho-social aspect of their conditions. We focus on individual needs and try to listen to what people need,” Mr Judson said.

 The Wesley’s multidisciplinary team comprises palliative care specialists, palliative nursing staff, physiotherapists, dieticians, speech therapists, occupational therapists, counsellors and chaplains.

 The Wesley Hospital’s Director of Medical Services and UnitingCare Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr Luis Prado, said the Wesley is one of only a few hospitals in south-east Queensland with a dedicated palliative care unit and skilled team providing holistic care to those with a terminal illness.

 “Since our Palliative Care Service began 13 years ago, demand has grown considerably and we now have more than 50 admissions each month. It is an essential part of our care,” he said.