Home' Southern Health News : Southern Health News August 2013 Contents Daw House Hospice CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
10 / AUGUST 2013 / SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS
The Daw House Hospice Foundation raises money to improve the lives
of people afflicted by a terminal illness. You can help by donating.
For more information call (08) 8275 1142
or visit www.dawhousehospicefoundation.org.au
eager to see her, I was hoping she
hadn't passed away.
"I went into her room to see her...
and she wasn't in a good way. I
touched her on the shoulder and
told her what a beautiful lady she
was and she stirred.
"The daughters were so happy
and asked me to keep speaking as
she recognised my voice. At that
moment I felt a real sense of peace
at the bedside."
Roger Lush has been
volunteering at Daw House
Hospice for the past five years.
Volunteers provide home comfort
BY SARAH GARVIS
Getting to know people in the last stages of their lives
is a humbling and emotional experience for Daw House
Hospice volunteer Roger Lush.
Roger, who started volunteering at
the hospice in 2007 following the
death of his father-in-law, offers
his time twice a week to provide
comfort, support and a listening ear
for patients and families alike.
"It seems to me at the end of life
people go through a sort of self-
assessment, thinking about what
they did and what they achieved,"
"As volunteers, our number one
priority is the patients -- whether it's
making them a cup of tea, adjusting
their bed, helping them with their
TV or just listening to their stories.
"We also spend a lot of time
providing comfort to the families
because they are the ones that
continue to suffer once their loved
one is gone."
The Daw House Hospice volunteers
are part of the wider volunteer
service for Southern Adelaide
Palliative Services (SAPS), which is
made up of 121 volunteers who offer
more than 13,000 hours each year.
If you're interested in joining the
SAPS Volunteer Service, please
call (08) 8275 1732.
Roger is one of 31 volunteers who
offer their time on a regular basis at
the hospice, helping to make it "feel
more like home than a hospital".
He says despite the fact that patients
are facing a life-limiting illness, and
ultimately death, the hospice is a
happy place where he has forged
many enduring friendships.
"There was a lady in here a while
ago and I remember the first time I
met her I brought her a cup of tea
and it was like I'd brought her the
crown jewels, she was so grateful.
"Over the following days and weeks
I got to know her and her daughters
"I missed one of my Saturday shifts
because I had the flu and when
I went in the next Saturday I was
My journey through palliative care
Sarah Garvis is a member of
the Southern Adelaide Local
Health Network Media and
Communications Team and
one of the Southern Health
News writers. Earlier this year
she lost her grandad Ian
Atkinson to bowel cancer.
This is her palliative care story.
I remember the day mum told me
grandad had been diagnosed with
Stage 4 colorectal cancer. It was
While the news worried me I knew
he was strong and I had heard many
stories of people battling cancer,
surviving and living years more than
doctors had anticipated.
And so began a series of hospital
visits for my grandad -- chemotherapy,
radiotherapy, blood tests, CT scans,
and numerous hospital admissions.
By Christmas he still seemed himself;
he was walking, talking and driving,
and he still looked like the grandad I
remember from my childhood.
But in the space of just a few
months, the cancer spread rapidly
and his condition deteriorated to a
point where he was admitted to Daw
House Hospice in March 2013.
At first grandad (and we all) thought
it would be a short stay. The staff
would get his pain relief under
control and he would go home and
Mum and the rest of my family
made regular trips to the hospice
to sit by his bedside. During these
visits we got to know the staff
quite well and they made us feel at
ease, answering our questions and
reassuring us grandad was in good
Two months later, grandad was still in
the hospice -- he was bed ridden and
confused, unable to communicate
properly and spent most days
sleeping. It was unsettling to see a
once strong and independent man
succumb so quickly at the hands of
this horrible disease.
On Thursday 23 May we received
the news we had all been dreading.
Grandad had lost his battle with
the cancer and had passed away
But amidst all the grief and
sadness, we were comforted by the
knowledge that he had not gone
alone and he had not been in pain.
In those final days and hours the
hospice staff were amazing. They
were a shoulder to lean on and
their care and compassion went far
beyond what we expected. We felt
as though they were a part of our
family, as they had come to know
and love grandad as well.
Before my grandad's passing I had
very little understanding of the
importance of palliative care. But
when you have a family member
who is affected by a life-limiting
illness, a lot of comfort can be taken
from the way in which their life
comes to a close.
Everybody has a right to die
comfortably without pain and
suffering, and for their family to be
an important part of the decision
making process around their care.
I can't thank the staff and volunteers
at Daw House Hospice enough for
their kindness and compassion to
my grandad and to my family.
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