Palliative Care at PDH

Thursday, 29 January 2015
Inevitably there are occasions when all the good care and medical help can’t save a person and Val Keys realises that nurses need to be there to support patients and their families in these times.

This realisation has prompted her to undertake training in palliative care and chemotherapy as part of Portland District Health’s increased focus on these areas of care.

Ms Keys is an experienced registered nurse and has worked for PDH over the past decade, mostly in the sub-acute ward.

When the opportunity arose to work in the hospital's new chemotherapy unit and to help with the newly revamped palliative care unit, Ms Keys took up the challenge.

She has completed her Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care through Flinders University and late last year undertook module one and two of chemotherapy training at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

The training has been very beneficial, particularly in helping us to communicate with people who are facing terminal illnesses. It helps to be prepared for the different reactions, Ms Keys said.

It is challenging work but we focus on quality of life and try to make sure people are as comfortable as possible, she said.

Ms Keys said the chemotherapy and palliative care courses were complementary and added to her broader nursing skills.

PDH supported her training by helping with fees and study leave. She hopes to undertake further study later this year.

PDH has established a new palliative care and special care room in the sub-acute ward.

The hospital has also developed a chemotherapy room that was launched last year and has been extremely well used over the past six months.

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