25 years of comfort and care: A tribute to Mount Druitt Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit

For 25 years, the Mount Druitt Hospital Palliative Care Unit has been a part of western Sydney history.

However, it’s not the walls of the building that hold the stories of those who’ve spent their final moments in the unit; it’s the staff and volunteers.

The recent 25th birthday celebrations for the Palliative Care Unit have been an acknowledgement of the warmth and care that the teams at the unit wrap around their patients and families.

“The unit becomes a part of peoples’ lives and memories – good, bad, happy or sad,” Nicole Winters, Aboriginal Supportive and Palliative Care Officer said.

“This is now a part of their history and their journey, and everyone involved in this process is so thankful to you, our staff.”

For Palliative Care Consultants like Jus Rakhr, the supportive nature of the team is something that makes the workplace particularly unique.

“The beautiful thing about this place is that it’s a massive team. Everyone comes to work and works so hard, but they also leave a bit of their soul here and a bit of their heart,” she said.

“Because this isn’t just a regular hospital – we care for the patients, their families and each other.”

The celebration was also attended by Maria Lingam, WSLHD Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services.

Maria delivered a moving address about the way the attitudes and enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers in this unit is felt across the District.

“There is something very special and unique about the staff that work here in this unit. You work under extraordinary conditions – particularly when you work for patients at their most vulnerable,” she said.

“You come into work each day and give this community world-class care.

“There are staff here who have worked here since the beginning of this unit and it is a testament to the culture that you have embedded here in this space.”

These sentiments were echoed by General Manager of Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals, Brad Ceely, who spoke about the lasting impact of palliative care for all that it touches.

“Some of the most rewarding moments in my career have been caring for patients and their families in their end of life care,” he said.

“While it’s such a challenging time for patients and their families, it’s so important that we connect with the patient.

“One of the nice things about palliative care is that there is no limit to what we can do – there is that real out-of-the-box thinking in how we deliver care.”