Palliative nursing certainly comes from the heart, but it’s also a learnt skill.
Sister Rumay Oosthuizen’s smiling face is a familiar one to many people. From her many years of experience here at Helderberg Hospice, Sister Rumay shares with you some basic guidelines for families sharing the care of a loved one at home.
- Be truthful with the patient about his or her circumstances.
- Listen, understand, and try to relieve distressing symptoms.
- Use the ‘one day at a time’ measure for expectations and achievements.
- Be assured that even if you make a mistake, it’s not in your power to shorten or lengthen the time a patient has left.
- As soon as possible, get a carer to help with the heavy physical part of nursing, like lifting, turning and washing someone much bigger than yourself.
- Take enough rest yourself, so that you still have enough energy to spend quality time with your loved one.
- When tired, try not to let the patient feel that it’s his or her fault.
- Ask for help – people are always willing to give it. Isolating yourself isn’t helpful.
- When help is offered, take it, and be specific about the type of help that you need.
- Reassure your loved one of their importance, and how much they’re still able to give.
Palliative Care is an approach with impeccable assessment, support and a high professional standard of care to relieve and control symptoms of a physical, psychological, social and spiritual nature to all our patients and their families.