Dr Anna Cleminson

So I’m Anna Cleminson, I’m a consultant in palliative care medicine and I work here in Sligo, North West Hospice. We are based right next to the hospital, as a service we have 8 beds in the hospice and in this area we are able to provide care for people with very specialist needs that need focus but we also look after people in the Sligo Region and we have a community team that work from this building and go out to see about 100 patients. Over in the hospital we have 20+ patients that we go and see and that allows us to seamlessly provide care in whichever area people are living. What we are trying to do is to enable people to live the life they want to live at this period of their life. Recently we have people who have found that this place, the hospice itself is a very secure and safe place. A place where they can kind of rest from the chaos or the noise and the activity of life and they are able to gain strength and then go out and spend time with the family with the energy that they have had from staying here. So we can offer sanctuary and support so I think patients that are good examples of what palliative care can do are ones where we enable them to live as they want to in this period of life and that can be in really different ways.

We had one man, he was a rascal, he was lovely, he was full of devilment but the one important thing to him was his 13 year old dog, it was a big dog. The only thing this gentleman wanted to do was go home and be with his dog and what we did in here was we worked with him so that he could be as good as he could be. We then worked with the people who worked with him in the community so he could go home and he was able to live out his life in his flat with this huge dog and his family also were supportive cause the dog needed walks and things.

We had another man that was in here that was really into photography and while he was in here, he was thinking about of different projects that he could take pictures of the hospice that didn’t show patients but presented the hospice to him and you know it was facilitating him to keep going and doing those activities and we did that partly through being, managing his symptoms and partly through listening to him and facilitating what he liked to do.

We had another gentleman who was really into his gardening just recently and although he was a patient here we were trying to encourage him to build up his mood and actually he ended up doing our own garden so he went out and helped dig some flowers for us and he actually enjoyed a wee fag so he got to have a wee smoke at the same time and while usually as a medical professional you would usually say that was the wrong thing to do actually it was important and part of his enjoyment and I think that is the focus. How can people live this part of their life they way they want to. I think people imagine that palliative care is a time of sadness, doom and glum and undoubtedly there are sad moments but with the help of the team we help people to do what they want to do we enable them to live life in a way they want to and that even there can be times there can be growth and light within the family and themselves which is really important