Hospitals not the only healthcare setting stretched by COVID-19

While COVID-19 is placing enormous stress on hospitals and aged care, the demand for terminally ill people to be cared for and to die in their own home has risen exponentially.

The pandemic has meant that visitors to inpatient settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, are severely restricted and thus more families are choosing to stay in the safety of their home.

They don’t want their terminally ill loved one to be left alone in their final days, so are choosing to provide this care themselves. Community-based palliative care services provide an interdisciplinary approach to support the terminally ill person, and their family to deliver care at home.

This care may involve visits from a medical practitioner or a specialist nurse to manage physical symptoms and provide advice on medical care to family carers. Social and pastoral care workers provide opportunities for talking about worries and spiritual, financial or procedural concerns.

Volunteers may relieve a family carer so they can have a sleep, go shopping or provide companionship for a socially isolated person. Counselling is provided while the person is receiving care and then for family members for 13 months following death. Additional supports available for families include occupational, music and art therapy.

Credit: The Age

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