Case Study | A Final Wish: Dying With Dignity: Palliative Care at Home
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
An old family friend made contact to explain that her 89-year-old father, Ray*, was in hospital with terminal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It had recurred after a decade in remission. Additionally, he had ruptured his spleen in a fall about six weeks prior. The spleen was removed. He was catheterised and remained quite uncomfortable.
Cognitively, Ray was fully alert and had decision-making capacity. His wife of 63 years and four children were distraught and needed a compassionate ear. After being advised that his illness was terminal, his wish was to return home to die.
Given the nature of his extensive care requirements, for at-home palliative care, a large team had to be assembled and quickly. Ray needed:
- a palliative care doctor;
- a palliative care nursing team;
- a group of quality care givers available around the clock; and
- support equipment, including a new bed, air mattress, chair, and shower chair.
It was a race against time; Ray was dying and he was very clear about returning home as quickly as possible.
In this scenario:
- Ray had the financial capacity to pay for all the required services, care, support and equipment.
- The family had to be briefed on what to expect, and who would be in attendance and when.
- The family needed a compassionate and empathetic care team to support them.
- The home was large enough to enable several carers to be onsite providing 24/7 care.
The Care Solution
DR Care Solutions was engaged and within five days, DR Care Solutions:
- Completed a comprehensive care needs assessment for Ray at his hospital bedside, taking into account all his wants and wishes.
- Developed a Life Plan©with clear recommendations on what could be implemented and quickly.
- Met with the social worker at the hospital, the oncologist and the family.
- Introduced a quality HomeCare Provider with carers who were experienced in palliative care. The HomeCare Provider, in conjunction with DR Care Solutions, arranged for the community palliative care doctor and community palliative care team to commence within two days.
- Sourced and installed the equipment for homecare.
- Had everything in place within a very short space of time so that the family could bring their loved one home and give him high quality ‘end of life’ care.
On the day Ray was to return home, his oncologist said his condition had deteriorated to a point where he couldn’t return home. Ray passed away peacefully that afternoon with family by his side. Everything had been set up in accordance with his wishes, however we just couldn’t get him home in time. The family were most grateful that we had done everything we could to give their loved one his final wish.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of subjects.
For more information, please reach out to Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place.