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