Home- care co- or­di­na­tion was in­ept

Southern Telegraph - - OPINION -

My fa­ther Bernie Whit­worth passed away at home on Box­ing Day.

He was a com­mu­nity- minded man and a life­long news­pa­per let­ter writer.

For the fam­ily, the shock that he had a non- op­er­a­ble brain tu­mour was only sur­passed by the unco- or­di­nated and in­ept home pal­lia­tive care providers.

Dad had been in hos­pi­tal for six days and they needed the bed.

We were will­ing to care for him at home but would need some equip­ment and some as­sis­tance.

We got 12 hours no­tice, a plas­tic shower chair and a list of wheel­chair hir­ers.

I spent the night mod­i­fy­ing a bath­room for in­valid ac­cess.

I was as­tounded that be­fore my dad’s dis­charge no one had checked the house was suit­able and prop­erly equipped.

We were left to man­age for three days be­fore a care co- or­di­na­tor came to see us and ar­ranged a hos­pi­tal bed and car­ers/ nurse vis­its.

The carer could not do any­thing be­cause Dad could not get into the shower by him­self.

My sis­ter and I did all the show­er­ing/ toi­let­ing, they left us three bags of baby wipes.

In the last three days my dad was bed- bound and re­quired a 24- hour mor­phine pump.

The nurse who came to re­place it had not read her emails so did not have the drug they had sent a pre­scrip­tion to our lo­cal phar­macy who was await­ing de­liv­ery.

Our fam­ily will be for­ever grate­ful to An­drew at Safety Bay Phar­macy, who left his shop, col­lected mor­phine and de­liv­ered it to our home.

The great­est amount of at­ten­tion taken dur­ing the en­tire home- care op­er­a­tion was the count­ing of the un­used mor­phine vials leav­ing me the im­pres­sion they thought we might on sell it.

We all die and to do that at home sur­rounded by loved ones is as good it gets.

It saves the Govern­ment a for­tune but the sup­port sys­tem needs to be a lot bet­ter.

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