Beyond aromatherapy: what you need to know about me as I die
Jeanette Liebelt understands the importance of thinking beyond music and aromatherapy when providing person-centred palliative care.
As a palliative care nurse and dementia project worker for Eastern Palliative Care Association in Melbourne, she encourages anyone caring for someone who is dying to remember they are unique people with different interests, preferences, abilities, values and culture.
She says this is particularly important when caring for people with dementia, who may not be able to express themselves.
Mrs Liebelt has drafted a list of personal details so anyone caring for her at the end of life, will be better able to meet her personal needs and preferences, particularly if she has dementia.
She was surprised how long her list was and how much it made her think, even though she works in palliative care.
What would you include on your list? Please share your thoughts with ehospice Australia in the comments section below. The may also be value in starting conversations like this with the people you love.
- I’ve been a nurse who worked in palliative care and loved my job.
- I generally have always been a happy person and people said I smiled a lot.
- I was the youngest of five. I have one sister and three brothers.
- I loved sport and played netball, squash, running and any activity. This has given me dodgy knees and I’m especially stiff in the mornings.
- I have lots of nieces and nephews and have always loved them a lot.
- I love music – any type really. So if I get agitated or scared put on the ear phones or just play me some music.
- Sit with me if I am restless. I’ve never done this before. It’s scary.
- I enjoy a glass of red wine. I don’t like red meat much.
- I like being with others but also like my own space. When I am in pain or feel unwell I get really quiet.
- I’d like my family to be in the room when I die.
- I’d like happy music and I’d like them to reminisce about our life together.
- I have a husband, two sons, one daughter and one grandson. I adore them all. They are my life. Keep their photos near so I can see them.
- I don’t want to be in pain. Mostly, you might need to give me some pain relief before moving me. And don’t let me get short of breath – that makes me very scared.
- When I’m dying please don’t force food or drink on me. My natural process is that I won’t want to eat or drink – the dementia makes me lose all interest in food and I don’t even really know what the point of food is. Just keep my mouth moist and clean – that’s all I need.
- I won’t need a priest or visit by a religious person.
- Tell me about yourself when you’re looking after me – I have always liked hearing about others. Tell me about yourself, your family, your interests.
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