After her grandfather experienced a fall followed by multiple strokes and lengthy hospital visits, Julie Jones knew it was time to take matters into her own hands.
Following a visit to her local GP, Julie was referred to Silver Chain, a new community based palliative care service in Western Sydney Local Health District.
The service is free for eligible patients and provides clinical care, assistance with daily living, respite care, bereavement and in-home support 24 hours, seven days a week.
It is available for people with a terminal illness, and is focused on providing support and care for patients as they enter their final three months of life.
Six months on from the passing of her beloved grandfather Jack Samuel Wrigley, Julie says caring for him during his final days in her home was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
“The staff would help me bathe my grandfather, move him from the bed to the chair, told me how much to feed him and provided medication advice,” Julie said.
“Most importantly though, the nurses were so respectful to him. They spoke to him, they’d say hello and reassure him. They didn’t just talk to me – they acknowledged him too.”
Julie, who lives in The Ponds, said the team of Silver Chain nurses visited her home often.
“Sometimes they were there all day. You can have up to three visits a day.
“I also had a number I could call for assistance 24 hours, seven days a week.”
Julie’s grandfather was 92 when he passed. She knew her grandfather didn’t want to pass away in a hospital – so with the help of her husband and the team from Silver Chain, they became his carers at home.
“I was able to give my grandfather what he wanted and he got to pass away with dignity, thanks to the help of Silver Chain,” Julie said.
“From start to finish their support was phenomenal. They were all really lovely people.”
Julie’s grandfather died in her home holding her hand. She was able to stay right by his bedside and her children were able to say goodbye.
“The staff told me exactly what to expect and what to do when he passed away,” Julie said.
“They came out first thing the next morning to help me wash and dress him for the undertaker.
“They even rang me two or three times in the days and weeks after to ask how I was going.
“All these people were so amazing. In such a difficult time you want these kind of people around.
“It was just such a positive experience in one of the worst situations.
“I reckon you can just meet some people and you know they’re good people. This is how I felt with these people. I met about six different people and every single one of them had a pure soul.”
Julie’s beloved grandfather was also grateful for her support, trusting his granddaughter to look after him and make important decisions.
“I would always say to him, I love you, and he would say ‘I know’. It was a personal joke. The last time I ever said it though, he said to me, ‘I love you too’,” Julie said.
Western Sydney Local Health District’s partnership with the Silver Chain Group started in July 2017.
The Service is part of the Government’s 2017 Budget commitment of $100 million over four years and in addition to existing expenditure on palliative care.
It is Australia’s first social impact investment for palliative care patients and aims to support more patients in Western Sydney with a terminal illness to die at home if that is their wish.
For more information about the Service, visit https://www.wslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Community-based-palliative-care-services