Margaret Robinson: Why End of Life Care is Personal
As we celebrate National Palliative Care Week, few are more committed than Margaret Robinson to the right of every Australian to expect excellence in end-of-life care.
Margaret is the Customer Relations and Admissions Coordinator at NewDirection Care Bellmere in Queensland which is one of the most innovative and ground-breaking aged care facilities in Australia. She takes care of its end-of-life program which has been carefully crafted to ensure the rights and needs of patients and their families are upheld. Margaret’s been with NDC for five years. Her work at the facility is personal after her daughter died in hospital from cancer. Margaret says for families, having loved ones dying in their own beds has an intimacy and dignity that a sterile hospital environment simply can’t replicate.
“While I recognise the amazing support of nursing and medical staff in hospitals, it’s often the wish of patients and their friends and families to be in a place that’s familiar and where they can be cared for by people who know and value them. At NewDirection Care we’re dedicated to making this happen.”
When new residents arrive at NDC, there’s the opportunity for them along with their families to discuss an end-of-line plan to ensure they’re kept out of hospital if that’s their wish. NDC’s policies on palliative care are designed with the needs of individual residents in mind and provide initialised services to ensure residents’ dignity and comfort.
“We know our residents and form friendships with them. We care for them and keep them safe. We know what they need and how to respond,” says Margaret.
Margaret tells the story of a beautiful Italian Mamma and Nonna who were loved and valued at NDC and who died as she wished, in her NDC home and surrounded by community.
“We had the honour of preparing her for her family so they could say their goodbyes. She had beautiful, long hair and liked it parted in the middle. We made sure she was cared for exactly as she wanted because we knew and valued her.”
Margaret’s work is also her passion. She’s personally invested in all the residents who come here.
“I have been with NewDirection Care for five years, so before we opened our doors,” explains Margaret. “I was here watching everything being put together. I have had the privilege of bringing in all the residents that we have here. Every single one of them has a special place in my heart. I love what we do here at NDC because we do make an impact on people’s lives, not just the residents, but their families as well.”
NDC Bellmere’s policies on palliative care are designed with the needs of individual residents in mind and provide initialised services to ensure residents’ dignity and comfort as they come to the end of their lives.
“We’ve worked carefully to make sure we have the right procedures and a well-trained team in place to care for our residents until end-of-life,” says NDC Bellmere’s Founder and CEO Natasha Chadwick. “It’s important to make sure that on admission, residents and families are consulted about their advanced care plans and lodge their final wishes properly with their GP so everyone knows clearly what they want.”
“I’d like to see other providers in the aged care industry embrace a similar approach to ours. In doing so, the industry could help alleviate some of the public health care burdens from the hospital system.”