‘to provide, through an interdisciplinary approach, integrated palliative care services which are focused on the needs of the person living with a life threatening or life shortening illness their family and carers and which maximise quality of life, alleviate pain and suffering and offer comfort and support through the period of grief and bereavement’
At EPC we actively engage with people and their families to develop a therapeutic relationship. We journey with them, recognising the essence of the individual as they approach death and transform or aspire to a sense of acceptance, contentedness or sacredness where possible.
We provide a unified approach using the specialist skills and expertise of Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, Massage Therapists, Pastoral Care Workers, Music Therapists, Physicians, Occupational Therapists and Volunteers, to enhance and support the quality of life and improving the sense of well being for people with specialist palliative needs.
Our work/support/care with families continues after the death into bereavement.
Where we work
EPC considers home to be a person’s own home, a family member’s home, nursing home and hostel, supported home, caravan park, mobile home or boarding house.
Specialist palliative needs
When referred to EPC clients are prioritised to ensure those most in need receive services within an appropriate timeline.
We work with people who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition, with little or no prospect of cure, and for whom the primary treatment goal is quality of life. We work with their carers who may be a family member, friend, neighbor or significant support person.
The people we work with may benefit from specialist, home based palliative care in one or more of the following ways:
- Assessment and treatment of a range of symptoms
- Spiritual, social or psychological support to affirm life and regard dying as a normal process
- An interdisciplinary approach to assist the client and caregivers to cope during the stress of a life threatening illness, to live as actively as possible until death and in bereavement.
- Advice to staff who are caring, so that a palliative approach is achieved through support and education.
EPC is fortunate to receive the services of a large number of volunteers who provide support to clients and their carers and families.
Our volunteers compliment the role of staff by providing a community perspective which enhances and expands the services and activities of the organisation.
Volunteer involvement covers a range of activities, including:
- Client, carer and family support such as providing a break for the family, assisting with practical tasks, walking their dog or simply being there for the client and their main carer.
- Administrative support such as assistance with the day-to-day running of the corporate offices, fundraising, public relations and membership of Community Support groups,
- Biography service, allowing our clients to record their life reflections or messages for families and friends on life’s journey
- Bereavement support
- Supporting and advising the community on palliative care and the services EPC can offer
- Transport of clients and or carers.
- Membership of EPC’s Committee of Management and its sub-committees
The Nurses of EPC recognise and affirm the individuality and uniqueness of our clients and families/carers by providing specialist nursing care and symptom management as well as telephone support available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Our role is constantly evolving and is a complex and extensive one which provides specialist knowledge to a wide range of both health professionals and people in the community.
Our nurses understand that at the very heart of nursing is the quality of the interaction between the nurse, the client and the carer recognising that palliative care nursing involves a particular approach. This approach incorporates excellent communication skills, clinical skills, consistency, consideration and confidence in our autonomous role.
The holistic interdisciplinary care provided by the nurses embodies compassion, empathy and dignity and encompasses psychological, spiritual and emotional support.
Family Support Workers
The primary aim of the Family Support Worker role is to establish a therapeutic relationship with clients and their carers. They are either qualified social workers, pastoral carers or psychologists. Our Family Support Workers journey with the client and their family and provide social and emotional support, counselling, spiritual care, information, practical assistance and bereavement support. Our Family Support Workers also assist with:
- Accessing home based community services and care equipment
- Assisting the client with Advanced Care Planning such as providing information regarding Enduring Power of Attorney and other end of life decision making including Wills and funerals
- Assisting with Centrelink documentation, carer entitlements and other documentation
- Providing advocacy and resource information
The Bereavement Family Support Workers are trained to provide bereavement counselling and also run a number of bereavement groups. Our groups aim to assist people in understanding their grief, supporting them while they adjust to their loss, as well as providing meaningful connections with others who have had a similar experience.
Our Massage Therapists work to support the client and carer and have specific training to work with people in their homes. The massage sessions are tailored according to the client’s needs, to promote relaxation of mind and body, thus reducing stress and anxiety. Massage also assists with relief of symptoms. In particular, it is known to relieve pain and ease soft tissue discomfort associated with inactivity and weakness.
The benefits of massage include:
- Promoting a range of physiological and psychological changes.
- Gentle positive touch, which can influence and contribute to the reduction of palliative symptoms.
- Enhancing the client’s quality of life through the provision of nurturing care.
- General comfort and wellbeing.
- Physiological relaxation which is connected to the immediate reduction of anxiety and has a lasting effect.
- Most importantly, we do no harm; we nurture and we provide relief from isolation and touch deprivation through a natural treatment.
Massage is also offered for the support of carers and bereaved clients.
Music therapists engage with clients in listening to or making music to enhance, maintain and support their quality of life and sense of wellbeing. We use music with people who have specialist palliative needs to help people connect with themselves and their families as they approach death. They are specifically trained to use music according to a person’s interests and wishes, whilst assisting with their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs. Music therapy in also offered in bereavement.
Music Therapy may support clients and their families by:
- Facilitating life review and reflection through live and recorded music
- Assisting with expression of loss and grief issues
- Providing an alternative way of communicating by writing songs and active music making
- Creating a legacy for family and friends
- Reducing feelings of loneliness
- Facilitating relaxation and enjoyment through listening to music
Our Palliative Medicine Specialist Physicians play an integral role in our management of clients with progressive, active and advanced diseases with the aim of optimal quality of life. Consistent with our model of care, there is a focus on the management of symptoms with a holistic approach.
The Palliative Medicine Specialist Physicians’ role includes participation in weekly Client Review and care planning meetings to contribute to client care plans; availability during weekdays for domiciliary review of problematic issues; provision of an on-call service 24 hours a day 7 days a week to the EPC team and General Practitioners for the care of EPC clients; and ongoing support, education and reassurance to the clients’ General Practitioners and EPC staff to optimise care. They also liaise with other key medical care providers, participate in regional general practice and various state palliative medicine committees to ensure good communication and sharing of knowledge with providers of palliative medicine.
Occupational therapists work with clients to enhance their ability to engage in daily tasks and occupations that are important to them.
Our goal is to work to maximise independence, safety, and comfort by:
- Modifying the environment to better support family to manage at home.
- Prescribing assistive equipment to assist with personal care, household tasks and mobility at home and in the local community.
- Providing education and advice clients and carers. This may include training re use of specialist equipment, advice on pressure care and positioning, fatigue management and/or energy conservation.
- Occupational Therapists work closely with nurses and other allied health team members to support clients and families to manage daily activities.
Together we actively engage as an Interdisciplinary Team. We acknowledge that working with people who are dying touches us. On the journey with people we laugh and celebrate and we care for each other and our team so that we can support and whole heartedly engage in palliative care.
How do we know we are keeping to our Purpose?
The EPC Committee of Management commits to and monitors:
- The development of Strategic Plans
- Progress towards our Strategic Goals
- Client and carer complaints
- Client and carer experiences
- National benchmarking to ensure EPC is providing evidence based practice
- Accreditation with the Australian Council on Health Care Standards
- That we remains a financially viable organisation
- Ensure that EPC is responding to clients’ needs within the given priority timelines
Approved Committee of Management October 2019