Reflections from Nurses at Goulburn Valley Hospice Care Service during Palliative Care Week 24-31 May 2020

Palliative Care…. It is more than you think!
Working in the speciality of palliative care that is so strongly connected to a community, we have seen first-hand the importance of ensuring every person matters. Surprisingly, our thoughts of palliative care did not automatically default to the dedicated doctors, nurses, oncologists, radiologists and others which Hospice works beside each day. It was not the Hospice Care Team responding to the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of people and their families living with a life-limiting illness. Our first thought was about the local community and its strong role in establishing the palliative care service, now deeply embedded.

With the COVID-19 challenges impacting on how Hospice could celebrate Palliative Care Week, the team created its own visual celebration, with each staff member and some of our volunteers adding to an internal display. Such reinforced the importance of community, as the many pictures, mementos, poems and books did not reflect an illness, but celebrated life, living well and acknowledging those ‘moments that matter’.

A board of photos captures the strong sense of community within the Service. Photos reflect the chatter of volunteers at the Opportunity Shop, fundraising activities and milestone celebrations. A pair of intricately stitched boots represents the laughter created through the famous ‘Boot Scooters’; the china tea pot and cup reflects the stories of many ‘Tea and Harmony’ events, littered with flowers, cake and enjoyment. A simple wooden toy denotes many car rallies enjoyed and colourful photos of bike riders can be seen.

Children drew interpretations of their parents’ workplace, alongside decorated bags for ‘baking from the heart’ created by school children. A child’s jumper, hat and teddy, all knitted, and an amazing quilt made from a soldier’s uniform representing the mastery of craft, providing the nourishment needed to help celebrate a life.
‘Palliative Care… It’s more than you think!’, it is community supporting and enabling each other to celebrate life.