House debates

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Redhead Gardens Palliative Care

12:46 pm

Photo of Jill HallJill Hall (Shortland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to associate myself with the words of the previous speaker. At the end of the day, a member of parliament needs to look at what they have done to help people and what difference they have made in the lives of individuals. The self-aggrandising approach to politics is not one that I endorse. Rather, I endorse the approach of trying to make a difference in the lives of real people each and every day. If, at the end of the day, as a member of parliament you can walk away from this place and feel that you have done that, I think then you have achieved your goal.

I would like to talk about an aged care facility, Redhead Gardens in Redhead, that is making a difference in the lives of their residents. On 29 January I attended a presentation in which they were awarded a better practice in aged care award by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. It was one of six awards that were given to aged care facilities in New South Wales. This was an outstanding achievement by the group. They received this award because within the facility they set up a palliative care program which is an extension of ageing in place. Low care, high care and palliative care is available.

A palliative care committee was set up at Redhead Gardens, which set about organising the kind of approach that would develop the care that is given within that facility to a new level. Under this palliative care approach, residents are able to determine their end-of-life choices. There are conferences to discuss issues with the families. A palliative approach committee meets regularly and reports back to the advisory committee within the aged care facility. A room is set aside and made comfortable for family and friends who wish to stay during the end stage of the life of a resident. Sympathy cards are sent to the families of residents who have died and memorial services are held every six months to remember the residents. A supply box has been established to ensure quick and easy access to equipment when it is needed. Staff education is involved in the palliative care process, which has meant the appointment of a clinical nurse to oversee the program. That it is something that the facility can be very proud of.

Even in an aged-care facility, death is not something that people feel particularly comfortable with. It reminds residents of their own vulnerability. For the families that have their loved ones in those facilities it is a very difficult time. As I mentioned, there is a clinical nurse specialist, who is the cornerstone of the program that is run through the facilities. It is very important that the staff and the residents of this facility are involved in this program. It is an inclusive program which includes the families and where everyone is valued. Redhead Gardens can be held up as a model, and I congratulate them on their achievement.

I also would like to congratulate the Whiddon group on their very innovative approach of appointing a person who oversees special programs and plans for residents that are suffering from dementia and behaviour problems. They are outstanding, they are a leader in the field and they should be congratulated in every way.