Orange Health Service is marking National Palliative Care Week (21-28 May) with this year's theme 'You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference'.
National Palliative Care Week is a national week to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in our communities.
For local Orange resident Henrietta Hood, the meaning of this week holds a special place for her and her family.
After Henrietta's mother was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2016, Henrietta cared for her at home until she died in early 2017.
With the help of the multidisciplinary palliative care team at Orange Health Service and her GP, Henrietta was able to make sure her mum died with the dignity and support she deserved.
“We've been so lucky to have the support of the palliative care team in Orange who in the last few months would come out weekly to give us both help. It's been exhausting, challenging, a huge privilege and so many other things all at once. But now it's over. I miss her dreadfully and there is just such a huge hole in my heart. I was so prepared for her death and had to welcome it because it was what she so desperately wanted," Henrietta said.
“The last 10 days of mum's life were incredibly tough, and the palliative care team supported us all both practically and emotionally."
“The team came every day to offer advice, hugs, a shoulder to cry on, support to enable me to get the rest I needed, pastoral care for my mum as she faced the reality of death, even talking to my young children so beautifully that their grandmother was about to die," Henrietta said.
“Without the support of the Orange palliative care team, Dudley Private Hospital, Uniting Aged Care and our wonderful Orange community, I just don't think I would have been able to keep mum at home. It was where she wanted to be and she is now finally at peace."
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I could not have done it without you."
For more information on National Palliative Care Week please visit http://palliativecare.org.au/national-palliative-care-week/.
Around $2.2 million annually is allocated to Western NSW Local Health District for specialist palliative care teams, which includes funding for 27 clinical staff across the region.
The first regional palliative care forum was held in Orange in early May to help the NSW Government tailor a state-wide palliative care strategy.
Media enquiries: Brendan Williams, Media Manager, Western NSW Local Health District via email@example.com