Positive palliative care session

By Jarryd Barca

The Corowa Medical Centre hosted a palliative care forum last Wednesday night to connect the community with crucial services in town.

More than 50 people attended the night, as well as a local doctor (Dr Antoinette DelPopolo) Amaranth Foundation (Julianne Whyte and Jo Bathels), solicitors (Sam Dempster and Richard Hickey), NUM for Community Health Kate Pargeter, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Eithne Moriarty and MC Ray McLarty. 

Corowa Medical Centre Practice Manager Kristen Mann said she was happy with the turnout of the night. 

“We were doing the event as a part of our project in conjunction with Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network to look at palliative care services in Corowa and do a bit of an analyses, looking at how they can be improved if they can be improved,” Ms Mann explained.

“We have had a lot of stakeholder meetings over the past few months so we’ve spoken with all the different service providers and people that are involved in palliative care.

“That was the catalyst for the meeting with the community, we really wanted to get some feedback from them (to) get their perception of palliative care.

“We also thought it would be a great opportunity to let the community know what is available in the palliative care space, how you access it, so what are those referral networks, who are the people that you see on the ground in Corowa if you, or a family or friend, are getting some palliative care?

“We wanted to let them know what is available.”

Surveys were conducted at the end of the night, with a Q&A session also held for feedback.

Ms Whyte and Ms Bathols spoke about ambulance care plans, the importance of psychosocial support for patients and carers and the services Amaranth have to support patients and their families

Ms Pargeter and Moriarty explained how Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), through the Community Care Service have been partnering with the Corowa Medical Centre to link the Corowa community to the services they need, while Dr Antoinette DelPopolo showed the audience how the medical centre supports palliative care patients, through Integrated collaborative service provision, and the kinds of conversations you can expect to have if you have a life limiting illness. 

Both solicitors spoke about the importance of power of attorney, wills and advanced care directives. 

 “They all spoke really well, they did a great job of discussing and explaining their service and what’s available,” Ms Mann said. 

“We had some really positive feedback, people walked away and felt that they had learned some things, that the session was run really well and was informative and it was nice to meet all of the people that are involved.

“I hope that people were able to put some faces to names and see the people that are involved in palliative care for them, learn how to access all of those different providers, what the referral networks are and that they’ve learned some care plans that are available to support them throughout palliative care.”

It was the first time the Corowa Medical Centre has held such a session and, though unsure if it will happen again, there have been multiple requests for another forum. 

“We thank everyone for coming along, all of the fantastic speakers and everyone for the feedback that will help to guide our project,” Ms Mann said.  

Who to call 

Speak to your local GP regarding palliative care, and they will help you to be linked in with the many Corowa services.