Milford Care Centre Team

Esther O’Brien, Clinical Nurse Specialist: My name is Ester, Esther O’Brien, Im a clinical nurse specialist and I’m a member of the specialist palliative care community service here in Milford Care Centre in Castletroy, Limerick. I believe palliative care is the journey we make with our patients and their families. We may receive our patients into our care, we have no control of the outcome but we can accompany them on that journey and we give our clinical expertise as a member of a team but also the extras we offer are that support, that enabling them to finish that journey and how and where they want it.

Sarah Cunneen, Senior Physiotherapist: So we work with patients of any age and any stage of their disease trajectory and we would work with them to try and self manage their condition and alleviate any fears that they may have with them, as independent they can be and that might include providing them with some equipment to help them and we speak with them and their families to try and ensure that they are comfortable and that they can achieve any goals that they may have and sometimes patients can be anxious and we can provide them with education and support and self management skills to try and alleviate their symptoms and we are, I suppose a contact to the patients from the hospice and I suppose as a support to them. Everybody’s needs are individual and so we have a team of occupational therapists, physio therapists, social workers, nursing. We would all work together collaboratively to try to provide a service specialised for that patients and we would work with the patient and their family to keep the patient optimums as possible in the process and to ensure their specific needs are met by us. I work particularly closely with the Occupational Therapist and we might go out to their house together and do an assignment and provide some equipment for the families to make sure that the patient can be as independent as possible and have their best quality of life.

Aoife Mullane, Senior Occupational Therapist: So part of my role as Occupational Therapist is helping patients and families identify and achieve goals, meaningful goals to them. Also part of my role is helping them to optimise or maintain their function and independence either through education or through provision of compensatory equipment. Also I help in terms of management of symptoms, fatigue management, pain, breathlessness management and anxiety and stress management. So I had a patient, who when he was first diagnosed, himself and his daughter bought this ponel tunnel. But unfortunately, toward the end of his prognosis, he wanted to go out to ponel one last time, in order to achieve this I provided a supportive wheel chair, assisted the family with the transfers and he achieved his wish of going out to the ponel tunnel one last time.

Esther Obrien: This gentleman on my first visit he had been given a diagnosis where there was very limited or no treatment options at the time. On my first visit the introduction of palliative care was another shock to him so he was appropriately sad, fearful of the unknown and then tearful and in the presents of tears there are no answers, there are no answers so there’s that moment of silence and while we were sitting in that moment of silence the dog came out from under his chair and jumped up on his lap and put his two paws on his two shoulders and gave him a little lick and that’s the essence of it, you know, that compassion, that care, that being present. That is the essence of palliative care, the rest follows on, that began our journey and it was a very special journey for all of us. The gentleman came to accept leaving his beloved family, his beloved wife and daughters and his dogs and died peacefully.

Sarah Cunnen: So when we go and see somebody and they are fearful about palliative care, we would always explain our role and the range of options we can provide and the support we can provide so that patients and their families are aware because sometimes there is something that they didn’t even realise we could help with.

Esther O’Brien: the promise is, we are there for you. We provide all the care that is needed, the symptom management, the support to the very end, where it is needed to be and beyond.