"The care of my wife who had terminal cancer"

About: Margaret River Hospital Palliative Care Western Australia / South West Regional Palliative Care Service – Coastal

(as a relative),

My wife was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer late last year and having gone through a programme of chemotherapy and alternative medical therapies, was able to reduce tumors in the breast and liver. It was early this year when scans showed tumors in the brain, and while my wife started medication again, it was not long until she and I realised that treatment was not helping. 

My wife made the decision to stay with my parents in Cowaramup, and so our two children, her parents (from Germany) and I joined her. As her condition deteriorated, she was treated by my parents' family doctor, Mr Bob. He got us in contact with Kim, the regional palliative care nurse, who was extremely helpful. My wife's wish was to stay in my parents' house up to when she passed away, and Kim was only too pleased to accommodate this wish. Kim had many chats with me about medications for pain relief and gave me knowledge and skills to administer pain relief during the evenings' when it was needed. 

Supporting Kim, Bob and myself were a team of energetic, enthusiastic nurses. Led by chief nurse from Margaret River Hospital Sandy, there was a coordinated group of nurses including Marina, Hanna and Jinny who were only too happy to visit, whether it was to change the subcutaneous pump medication or to just touch base to see how things were going. Their care and concern, their professionalism and sense of humour, and their desire for my wife to end her days with dignity was palpable and made the final weeks of my wife's life as comfortable for all of us as possible. 

While it was only two weeks, all these health care staff became more than just staff...more like caring friends. Such a distressing time for us, including our teenage children, was made so much more comfortable with their involvement. Kim's regular call-ins, often on her days off, and her phone calls and texts to me to see how things were going, were so important to me so I could support my wife as well as our children and their grandparents. I am so glad I had these lovely people along for my wife's journey.

Responses

Response from Marie Tweedie, A/District Manager, Leeuwin, WACHS SW

Dear Polarisdc46,

Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story on Patient Opinion, it was lovely to hear.

Kim is such a dedicated professional and is highly regarded by us all, her passion for end of life care is evident because she encourages so many of our Nurses to do the same.

It was so heart-warming to hear that our Nurses made a difference to your wife’s journey and were a support to you and your family.

It will be with great pride that I pass on your wonderful comments to the team.

Kind regards

Marie Tweedie

Acting District Manager

Leeuwin Hospitals

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