‘With palliative care we do not only work with the patient, we also look after the family, especially the primary caregiver. We need to ensure that the primary caregiver has the resources and information to care for the patient. You only start to understand the meaning of holistic care when you consider all within the family and the family circumstances’.
What gives you the confidence to be able to work with critically ill patients in their homes?
On-going training and working as a team is key to good palliative care. The knowledge I have gained gives me enough insight into knowing what I don’t know and understand the risks of both ‘doing’ and ‘not doing’ treatment and care. It enables me to ask for help and guidance. You can’t look after a patient by yourself, you need a team to enable you to care for the holistic well-being of a patient’.‘Yesterday I went to visit a patient who had chemotherapy last week. He is usually a very active man who bakes bread and cleans whenever I visit his home, but yesterday, he was in bed. I could see that he was not in a talkative mood so I asked if I could sit on the bed with him and read the newspaper.
After a short while, he stared to talk, we talked for a long time. Through taking time I could ask him what would happen to him when he got sicker, who would look after him then? You need to take time with people. Some carers do not like working with me, they say I take too long, but you need to take time as time provides the space for patients to ask questions’.‘Through the years of working with patients and learning about palliative care ethical principles,we have started to see life differently.