BIG HEARTS

Katie Rose Cot­tage help­ing ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients and their fam­i­lies find peace

Noosa Life and Style - - CONTENTS - ALAN LAN­DER

Meet a very spe­cial nurse who is the lat­est re­cruit at Doo­nan’s Katie Rose Cot­tage Hospice help­ing ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients and their fam­i­lies find peace.

IT TAKES a spe­cial per­son to work at Noosa’s only free hospice for the ter­mi­nally ill. And one of the keen­est re­cent ar­rivals to Katie Rose Cot­tage Hospice is Pomona’s Julie Fer­di­nando.

With 28 years RN nurs­ing un­der her belt, Julie brings a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence in care to the job. Add to that, with years of ex­pe­ri­ence at Eden Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Hos­pi­tal in Cooroy, many as the hos­pi­tal’s di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal ser­vices, Katie Rose has se­cured the jack­pot.

“I’d been at Eden 10 years, also side-by-side with pal­lia­tive care and six years as di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal ser­vices,” she said.

“I had good men­tor­ship there.”

The 48-year-old might still have been at Eden un­til she per­ceived pri­vate health­care cuts had be­gun to make Eden “put more em­pha­sis on profit”.

“So it was my time to go,” she said.

“But it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence of man­ag­ing a pri­vate hos­pi­tal; it taught me how to sur­vive on a shoe­string bud­get.”

Katie Rose Cot­tage at Doo­nan is a free 24-hour hospice ser­vice de­signed to al­low ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients a dig­ni­fied, com­fort­able and less-stress­ful means for both pa­tient and their fam­ily to see the pa­tient’s de­part­ing this life.

Katie Rose’s growth pre­sented an op­por­tu­nity for Julie to value-add her ex­pe­ri­ence at a time when it was un­der­go­ing im­por­tant bu­reau­cratic steps, as the cen­tre is un­der­go­ing its pal­lia­tive care ac­cred­i­ta­tion process.

“We’re try­ing to etch out a beau­ti­ful place at Katie Rose and we want great in­put, and we’re seek­ing fund­ing from gov­ern­ment,” Julie said.

“I’ve been through this [process] three times.

“It’s a pro­ject of re­view­ing acts and es­tab­lish­ing stan­dards against na­tional re­quire­ments.

“We were ac­cred­ited on June 11, and now teach­ing and train­ing staff on the new doc­u­men­ta­tion.

“We’re on our way to de­liv­er­ing good care – and able to

with­stand au­dit­ing.”

The Katie Rose team has 13 RN nurses, four care staff and many vol­un­teers, Julie said.

“And we have main­te­nance, gar­den­ers, too; it’s mind-blow­ing how many vol­un­teers turn up daily, help to make things to pro­vide a lit­tle bit of com­fort.

“The house is beau­ti­ful in a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment, cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful out­comes for a com­fort­able death – maybe not what [the pa­tient] thought it would be.

“We pro­vide them and their fam­i­lies with 24-hour visi­ta­tion. The whole death process is done re­spect­fully; it makes griev­ing eas­ier and fam­i­lies don’t see their loved ones suf­fer.

“It’s an in­cred­i­ble team of vol­un­teers, cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries.”

Julie said the cen­tre has three beds and are work­ing on a fourth.

“The num­bers of in­quiries are in­creas­ing. We se­lect ac­cord­ing to needs and cir­cum­stances, but we may not be able to han­dle com­plex med­i­cal sit­u­a­tions there.”

Death is not the eas­i­est of is­sues to deal with, so what do those in the busi­ness do to main­tain per­sonal bal­ance? “[It’s about] just be­ing me,” Julie said.

“You’ve got to en­gage in very dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions; it’s dif­fer­ent from be­ing a gen­eral nurse.

“You need good re­la­tion­ship skills, deal­ing with fam­i­lies, also stay­ing there.

“Ev­ery now and again it can get in­tense; the ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one is very im­mer­sive. Some­times it takes a bit of skill in de-es­ca­la­tion.

“There are times of chal­lenge; its not phys­i­cally de­mand­ing but men­tally.”

Time out is im­por­tant.

“I have two teenage girls aged 17 and 15 so I have good dis­trac­tions,” Julie said.

“I go for walks in the park in Pomona. “And cof­fee – do­ing the Noosa thing.”

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