Peace of mind at Wedgetail
Hospice brings big relief
IT’S a position no child wants to be in but many face at some point.
For Kate Mckeown, being beside her mother, Sally Del Perugia, in end-of-life care at Dulguigan hospice, Wedgetail Retreat, has made their challenging situation much easier.
Ms Mckeown will soon have to leave her mum for a period of time, returning to the United States to tend to her business and nine-year-old daughter.
While splitting her time between the two countries, she said her 67-year-old mother from Fingal had been gradually deteriorating.
Ms Del Perugia mother has metastatic endometrial serous, a painful, life-threatening illness.
Her at-home carer could no longer manage and her pain levels had become “too difficult” to stay in her home.
Ms Mckeown urged the community to support Wedgetail Retreat since her mother began her stay there.
“I have witnessed first-hand how expensive syringe drivers are that help to control pain, portable oxygen concentrators that help depleting blood oxygen levels rise and other medical equipment that brings great relief to those who are dying,” Ms Mckeown said.
“They are the only organisation in the region that also loans medical equipment free to palliative clients at home.
“I have been by Mum’s side for several weeks and the level of commitment from the nursing staff is deeply touching.
“The trained palliative volunteers are exceptional, even the cooks.
“They treat us and everyone who comes to the hospice like treasured family and don’t hesitate to go the extra mile.”
Ms Del Perugia said she had been in an immense amount of pain at home.
“I was so uncomfortable,” she said.
“My pain levels were out of control. As soon as I came to Wedgetail Retreat I relaxed, my doctor visits me here and it is such a beautiful place.”
She said it was important for the community to understand how much of a difference the hospice had made to her quality of life.
“The nurses always have a smile and the visit by the therapy horse was such a delightful surprise,” she said.
“I want people to know how committed this organisation is and how much they need business and community help to raise funds. 24/7 nursing care doesn’t come cheap and to stay, they only ask for unrestricted donations, if you can afford it.
“Although they work with local hospitals, they do not receive any funding from NSW Health.”
While Ms Mckeown has been living in Atlanta, Georgia, for the past seven years, spending time together at the hospice has left them with special memories.
“The dedicated nurses have become like sisters to me and I know mum is receiving exceptional professional, loving care,” she said.
Wedgetail Retreat is the only independent community hospice in NSW and is connected with the award-winning Tweed Palliative Support.
■ To donate, visit www. wedgetailretreat.com.au or phone 02 6672 8459.
IN GOOD HANDS: Kate Mckeown with her mother, Sally Del Perugia, who has been staying at Wedgetail Retreat due to worsening metastatic endometrial serous.