Photo taken before COVID-19
Taking care of palliative patients can be a challenge for caregivers, but with the help of a trusted care team, the experience can be one filled with peace and dignity instead of an ordeal.
"Oh my daughters are here!" cried Mdm C (not her real name) jovially.
Sitting on her bed, she extended her arms to her children for an embrace.
A long hug ensued between the four of them before they exchanged kisses on each other’s cheeks.
It was only yesterday that Mdm C saw her daughters, yet she has already missed them.
From a distance, Senior Staff Nurse Theviya Parama Sewai watched the heart-warming scene amidst the busy palliative ward at Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH).The Struggle
Their mother was everything to them and so were them to her. Their bond was beyond a mother-daughter relationship – she was their best friend whom they often confided in whenever they needed a listening ear.
When Mdm C was admitted for palliative care due to breast cancer, everything changed. It was hard for the family to piece everything together after their mother’s diagnosis.
However, they continued to put up a strong front to care for their mother with the remaining time they had.
As dutiful daughters, they would visit their mother religiously and would return home at night to rest. Seeing their cheerful mother reminded them of the days when she was healthy.
But little did they know, Mdm C would be confused and agitated at times during the night because of her condition.
To help her with the pain, the care team had to prescribe medication which made her drowsy and less communicative during the day. This did not go down well with her family, who were apprehensive to this approach which would left them less quality time with their mother.
Despite the care team’s explanation, Mdm C’s daughters – due to caregivers’ stress – refused to accept the reasons until her third daughter experienced it herself during one of the nights she stayed late.
She struggled to keep Mdm C calm and had to request for assistance from the nurses. With her daughter’s permission, medication was given to Mdm C so that she could rest.
"Through the experience, the care team once again communicated to Mdm C’s family on her condition and provided them with guidance and training to allay their stress, and help them with decision making for her needs," said Theviya.
With each passing day, the rapport between Mdm C’s family and the care team became stronger.
Mdm C’s family was also able to control her agitation and sometimes would spend time with the nurses listening to her stories.
But within 6 months, the stories sadly ended.
As bitter as it was, Mdm C’s daughters accepted the fact that their mother was gone and were happy that she passed away without suffering much in her journey.
"Being confident reassure caregivers that nurses are doing the best for our patients and make them feel safe!" said Theviya.
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