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Personal connection during COVID-19

PCA Board Chair and Chair of the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group (ACPCWG), Professor Meera Agar, spoke to 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham yesterday on the importance of maintaining personal connections during the COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

“Personal connection is so important at the end of life,” said Prof Agar.

“I’d encourage people to tell the health professionals something about their loved one: who they were, what their interests are, so that health professionals can connect to that person when the family is absent in a much more authentic way.”

Prof Agar and Fordham also discussed some of the ways that families and their loved ones are staying connected during this time.

Prof Agar advised families to communicate with their relative about why they aren’t visiting – saying that in her experience, patients understand the seriousness of the situation more often than not.

“Even when people have a serious illness they rise to the challenges that are in front of them and put the welfare and wellbeing of all the people around them [first], because that has been important to them for their whole lives.”

Fordham said he had a special sympathy for those who cannot say goodbye, telling listeners being with his dad the moment he passed away was “really special to me… it will be with me forever.”

“He spent the last two days of his life surrounded by people he loved.

“But right now it’s very different. Family members are being warned to be extremely careful when visiting the elderly, because we could kill them.

“It’s robbing the dying from a degree of dignity, and it’s also stealing from the rest of us.”

Listen to the full audio here

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