How equipment can assist people to manage at home as end of life approaches
MVP4P is lucky to have an Occupational Therapist as a member of our Executive Committee. Linda Walters is an Occupational Therapist and advises on purchases of equipment requested by hospital and community Palliative Care teams. Here, Linda has given us an insight to her work. Occupational Therapists treat a range of patients, including those in palliative care, through the use of everyday activities. They can recommend equipment which makes everyday activities easier and safer for patients and carers.
Many people would prefer to stay at home as they age or have a life limiting illness. Often carers are not confident to care for patients at home due to a lack of their own physical strength. Look at the list of equipment below which an Occupational Therapist may use. Would any of this equipment be useful for your situation?
Changes in function are difficult to predict and can occur suddenly, so having access to what you need, when you need it can make the difference between managing and not managing day by day. Generally, people approaching end of life and being cared for at home can access the supports they need through referral to a Palliative Care Service. These services keep a pool of equipment which can be provided on loan at little or no cost for as long as needed.
The equipment that can play an important role can be basic or more specialised, for example:
- A urinal for night use
- Simple portable rubber wedges to ramp a small lip from one floor surface to another, or a larger folding aluminium ramp for steps and kerbs.
- A bench seat to bridge over a shower hob
- A shower stool
- A toilet frame
- Slide sheets to help easily move a person in bed
- A portable oxygen concentrator: take oxygen therapy where ever is needed
- A mobile shower chair/commode seat
- A folding manual wheelchair
- A lifting hoist and sling: for safely moving a non-weight-bearing/non-ambulant person
- A home hospital bed: has powered functions to help with positioning and provision of care
- A pressure care mattress or cushion: for prevention of pressure sores
- A powered recliner/lift chair
Manning Valley Push 4 Palliative is committed to raising funds, through events and donations, to provide equipment which is used in the local hospital and community settings, to support palliative care needs in the Manning.
This coming week, starting tomorrow, is National Palliative Care Week. To recognise the importance of palliative care, various ‘events’ have been organised by the national body Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and also our very own Manning Valley Push 4 Palliative (MVP4P). Due to restrictions on the number of people meeting face to face, these events will be held online.
The PCA newsletter for May, has lots of interesting information and outlines a special event to mark Palliative Care Week, which our members may wish to access via the internet. You can access the newsletter via this link: https://palliativecare.org.au/national-palliative-care-week-2020
A Virtual Morning Tea Monday, 25 May 2020 from 10.30 am on Facebook Live. The morning tea features an interview with Patrons of Palliative Care Australia, the Governor General, His Excellency David Hurley and
Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley.
Locally, MVP4P will be holding its own virtual event on Friday 29 May from 9.30 – 10.30 am. Further details will be provided to members and supporters of MVP4P so you can settle down with a cuppa and catch up on all the news from our organisation.
Resources for Resilience
Welcome to the first Blog post of Manning Valley Push 4 Palliative.
Since I started to write the first draft of this blog, our lives have been changed in many ways. While we try to minimise the health impacts of Covid-19 in our families and communities, nationally and internationally, the resourcefulness and resilience of every person is being challenged. We are required to live ‘at a distance’ from each other at all times, not necessarily just at times that we choose. This isolation can be quite distressing for many vulnerable and elderly people in our communities, especially those who are at the end of their lives, and their carers. Palliative care patients and their families, are being asked to change many established routines such as who visits and for how long.
There is support to be found through the many and varied resources that organisations have compiled to help people through difficult times. One such organisation is Palliative Care Australia. If you are challenged by the changes you are experiencing at this time, you may find it helpful to look at the Palliative Care Australia website and resources (https://palliativecare.org.au/resources). Palliative Care Australia has formed the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group (ACPCWG) in partnership with other peak bodies to help optimise palliative care services preparedness as part of whole of health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Palliative Care Australia resources are available for everyone, as well as more specifically for patients and carers. There are Multilingual brochures about palliative care in 17 community languages. Please leave a comment if you find a particular resource helpful so that others may benefit from your experience.