It’s not a role everyone could truly say they loved, but working in palliative care has been nothing short of a privilege for Claire Scott.
Claire, a registered nurse for Cabrini Palliative Homecare, has been part of the team for the past five years and made the transition to palliative care after spending 20 years as an oncology nurse.
“I always had an interest in palliative care, but I had been so busy in other roles that the timing never worked out,” Claire said.
As part of Palliative Care Week (23-29 May), Claire opened up about her role in palliative care, the misconceptions around the service and why she loves her job.
Claire said day to day the team, based in Malvern, covers a 15km radius of Cabrini and visit up to five patients a day.
She said while a large number of visits were to oncology patients, many were to respiratory and cardiac patients.
The theme for Palliative Care Week this year is ‘Palliative Care It’s more than you think’, and Claire believes it couldn’t be more accurate.
“I often say to our patients we have two parts to our job. One is the end of life care – providing that care to patients and their families. And the other is a symptom management role,” she said.
“We have patients who we discharge, that’s often a misconception about working in palliative care. Some patients we see every day and others we see every four to six weeks.”
Claire said the most common misconception was that palliative care meant death or dying, and that wasn’t always the case.
“It’s about improving their quality of life, I have a saying and that’s ’to keep you as well as we can for as long as you have’.”
When asked what she loved about her job, Claire described her role as not only rewarding, but a privilege.
“To be able to go into someone’s home and provide that type of care at that time in their life is just so special,” she said.
“It’s very, very, very rewarding. It’s a real privilege. We are assisting people to die how they want to.
“We keep patients comfortable and in their own homes, if that’s what they want. We are their advocate and are able to facilitate their wishes. We will do everything we can to help patients.”
Claire said Cabrini’s palliative care team were second to none, and one of the reasons she was still passionate about working here.
“I have always felt welcomed, and the team are incredibly supportive. We share a lot of experiences with each other and are always able to debrief after difficult shifts.
“Also, all our services are under one roof. We have a close link with our palliative care consultants, the specialists, our Prahran inpatient unit and allied health staff. We are all working as one big team, and having all your medical professionals in one space is so important.”
For more information about our palliative and supportive care, click here.