Tuesday, May 16, 2006

home care

I want to give you a glimpse into palliative home care. You have heard from Jan and Graham about their experiences and it is always a privilge for me to join a home care visit. In Calicut, a team consisting of trained volunteers, nurse, doctor and driver go out every day. Patients are reviwed, urgent visits arranged, proceedures carried out such as IV infusions, dressings, tapping of fluids in the chest or abdomen, medication supplied, social support given and emotional and spiritual support offered. The driver's role is the most intriguing as he at starts by negotiating the rural roads like a pro, reversing up impossible lanes before changing roles and assisting in dispensing medication and is then asked to help with preceedures. The combination of local knowledge (coming from the volunteers, who often live in the area) and the health care skills is inspirational. Here is one of the volunteers being introduced to me - he is a huge support to so many families. Coping with the journey, hot and humid climate, responding to unexpected needs, supporting relatives and patients is a draining yet rewarding task for the teams. What a privilege it is to be invited into someone's home often at a very difficult and vulnerable time. The photo here shows an elderly lady who was sharing some difficult feelings. Can you see how the team is around her offering her unspoken support, listening and concern? A real picture of palliative care in action. Some families are known over many weeks and months allowing real relationship building and trust. Othere are referred very late - though the network of local volunteers is helping prevent this. The teams offer an opportunity for training and mentoring as well as care for patients and their families. Areas of particular need have been identified such as psychiatric and psychological support, rehabilitation for spinal injuries; and these areas targeted for training and service development. A dynamic and responsive service - and an inspiration.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Hi Mhoira - How are you? I hear that you are due back in Aberdeen soon. I got a prayer letter from you just after easter but haven't hear from you since. I hope you are well. I'm sorry I have not been in touch before now. My laptop had to be wiped and I lost your email address. Give me a call on my landline so I can catch up with you.

God bless,