New palliative care service opening

St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital has identified a need to establish a palliative care service to meet the community demand for specialised end-of-life care.

10 Mar 2022

Caregiver and patient in outdoor area.

“Palliative care relates to the care we provide people in their final year of life. It is important that we work with the person to understand their choices and support them to a comfortable and peaceful end. As humans we all know that our time on this earth is limited, and our role is to assist and guide people during this challenging period,” explains CEO for St John of God South East Melbourne Hospitals Lisa Norman.

“We have worked with palliative care specialist doctors to develop a model of care and adapt our environment to ensure we can deliver best practice care for our patients and their loved ones.”

Given that St John of God Health Care already provides inpatient palliative care at its Berwick campus, the idea to dedicate ten of Frankston’s 60-bed rehabilitation facility seemed like an obvious choice when it came to addressing a fundamental community need.

“St John of God Health Care has always maintained a holistic approach to health care and it prides itself on offering services for each stage of a patient’s life, from birth and beyond,” says Lisa. “This new service has been developed in conjunction with a team of highly respected and experienced palliative care physicians and palliative care community organisations with every effort made to renovate and redecorate with the comfort of our patients and their families at the forefront of design.”

Under the leadership of Acting Director of Clinical Services Karen Ward, the new palliative care unit is expected to open 28 February 2022 and will feature a sensory garden and patient lounge, along with state of the art palliative care equipment and access to services such as pastoral care, art and music therapy as well as other unique care options.

“We are very fortunate to have the support of our local communities through donations and volunteer work,” says Karen. “Our amazing sensory garden was originally designed and will be revitalised by Rotary Frankston Sunrise, and through generous donations we have also been able to secure a cuddle bed for our unit which enables family members to safely lie with their loved ones during their final moments of life.”

Karen also notes that St John of God Health Care provides an array of additional support services such as Delta Dogs which provide social, emotional and physiological benefits, VR goggles which aim to take patients on virtual journeys away from their hospital beds. And currently it’s looking to expand the St John of God Berwick Hospital’s Dream a Little Dream program which provides people the opportunity to have a wish of theirs granted. It’s another of St John of God Health Care’s programs that is made possible through our community donating services or money that allow us to bring the dream to life.

Karen believes that, “palliative care is a vital health care service and we know that the patient and their loved ones need support and an experienced team to help them. We focus on ensuring it is done well because we recognise it is our last opportunity to deliver great care. It’s interesting as we get to know the patient and the people around them, our focus initially is all about the patient and as their care needs change and they become less aware of their surroundings, our focus turns to the people they love and support during this challenging time. Our service aims to offer comprehensive care by seeking to meet the medical, spiritual and emotional needs of our patients. It’s all about providing the best and most suitable care to each individual person.”

If you’d like to learn more about palliative care at St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital, please contact 03 9788 3333 or email.

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