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Tess Nesdale responds: 'Rest homes struggling to care for patients admitted to die'

03 Dec 2019 10:30 AM | Philip Patston (Administrator)

As reported in 15/11/19  -  'Rest homes struggling to care for patients admitted to die'.

To my knowledge, as a nurse who has practised for the last ten years in aged care at the level of hospital care in a rest home, these facilities are the next option for those with a terminal illness discharged from Hospice or DHB, if care is not available at home.

For many of those whose life has become limited in time and function, hospital-level care at a rest home is where they will have their final days of life.

Hospices and DHB's provide care, inclusive assessment and treatment.  When this is completed, the person must seek appropriate accommodation either in their home or in a rest home/hospital environment.

This option is available for the 'next stage' in the process of the end of their life.  These facilities are contracted to and paid for in part by the DHB and so care continues.

In the past, I have known circumstances when this care has not been ideal.  This is due largely to the nurse who must care for three Palliative patients.  At the same time, she also has responsibility for 20-30 other residents.  Not forgetting relatives who need reassurance and advice.  Close relatives may well be providing hands-on for their loved-ones care, so supplementing what the nurse can do.  The nurse has to constantly prioritise her tasks, knowing that she cannot fulfil all that is required of her.

I have been in such a position.  It is disheartening when you are working through your shift with a method you have practised many times and you are intent on doing a 'good job'. Your constantly modified 'to do' list does not diminish.  Comments are not always complimentary as in the situation of dying, emotions can naturally run high.  It is a critical time for those involved and as the nurse, you want to give the best care.  The memories of this time are sharp. They are recalled long after the event for all those involved.  I want those memories to be great. Not 'All I remember of my mothers' death was the unrelieved pain'.

Years of underfunding have led to this situation.  The imbalance of our current situation is obvious.  At the present level of funding, there is no better solution.

Tess Nesdale

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