It has been an incredibly difficult two years for many people who have had a loved one die during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many families were unable to hold a funeral for their loved one or celebrate their loved one’s life in a group setting.
Bellarine Community Health (BCH) has supported many families during the pandemic and last week patients and families in the care of the BCH Palliative Care team during the past 12 months were remembered during a special memorial service.
130 family groups were invited to attend the memorial and light a candle for their loved one.
“It was so special to be able to reconnect with some of the families we have supported and share with them a moment of reflection about their loved ones,” said BCH Nurse Practitioner Sue Berry.
Grief Counsellor Tara McKinty, former BCH Palliative Care Consultant Dr David Brumley and the Tides of Welcome Choir also took part in the proceedings. The service was supported by volunteers from Compassionate Hearts on the Bellarine.
The BCH Palliative Care team has faced a significant increase in demand because of the impacts of Covid-19.
A reduction in face-to-face consultations with specialists and GPs during the height of the pandemic and fear and anxiety around going into hospital has led to more demand for BCH community-based services. The team are now seeing more than double the number of patients they were in 2019.
“Palliative care isn’t just about end-of-life care,” said Nurse Sue Berry. “It’s an approach that improves the quality of life for patients of all ages and their families, who are facing problems associated with life limiting illness. More and more people are wanting to die at home, and we are there to support them.”
BCH hopes to do a memorial service annually as a further support to the families they care for.
The BCH team is made up of a Nurse Practitioner and two specialist Community Palliative Care Nurses, along with a newly appointed social worker/counsellor. The team are supported more broadly through the BCH Community Nursing team and an Occupational Therapist.
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