For Luke, Busselton Hospice Care Inc was a lifeline when his mother was seriously ill and dying. After a long battle with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Maria was able to die at ease in her surrounds, surrounded by family and with expert medical staff on 24-hour call. Busselton Hospice Care Inc gave Maria and her family peace of mind, expert care and genuine kindness and compassion at a time when they needed it the most. Your support for this important campaign will ensure that others like Maria and Luke are able to benefit from the same important choice in how they die. 

   

Luke and Mum

I guess our journey really ramped up when Mum was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, alongside her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She had been on an off chemotherapy treatments in Bunbury and in between was still at home on a farm stay near Carbanup River. Her brother had moved down from Perth to look after her but it was getting harder and harder. She was on and off a ventilator and on so many different medications. In the end, she was between the emergency room and home so often, we knew we needed to look at the next stage for her.

We had investigated a nursing home, however, particularly with all the news about the Aged Care Royal Commission, it wasn’t something that sat well with us as a family. The Hospice really came to the party at the 11th hour as another option and it was one that felt right for us.

We had known about the Hospice for some time and Mum had seen its work first hand. She had been the primary carer for her partner and he had died at the Hospice. So, Mum knew it was an incredible place however it was still hard for her to come to terms with going from being the carer to being the patient. 

Having mum in the Hospice took a huge mental load of myself and the family. We knew she was comfortable and well cared for. Mum was reluctant to go into the Hospice in the beginning, however in the end it was where she felt the most comfortable. She wanted to be at home, however she was scared about not being able to breathe and so the Hospice provided the best of both worlds. It came to be like a home away from home for her and she knew she had the medical staff right there if she needed them too. It took away the fear for her in her last days and that is such a huge gift.

In the midst of coordinating all of Mum’s treatments and dealing with the family grief and processing of the situation, the incredible staff really went above and beyond in their care of Mum, and also the whole family. 

We managed to get Mum’s dogs in to spend time with her and in the last week, my wife and I were sleeping there overnight, so we were able to always be there with her. We also ended up with extended family coming down from Perth and the staff let us use a spare room and found an extra fold out bed to accommodate them too. 

In the hospice Mum had access to not just nurses and doctors but also her psychiatrist and social workers which made the process so much easier for her. 

The staff also played an incredible role in “umpiring” all the extended family and friends. There were so many people who wanted to see Mum and the staff made sure everyone had a turn, while also making sure Mum wasn’t getting too tired and was always looked after. We couldn’t have managed without these incredible people. They did it so diplomatically and so professionally. We wouldn’t have been able to do this, if we’d been at home on our own. 

The Hospice Volunteers were also incredible and it really felt like they were family coming to visit.

There is such a lack of services in our region which deal with death and dying and a lack of common understanding about what death entails. It’s something you don’t think about until you’re faced with it and by then it’s too late. Busselton Hospice Care Inc is a vital community service in our region and they need our help now. 

The fact is, we are all going to die at some point. Having the choice of where to die and in an environment where you feel safe, cared for and at home is a blessing. I have seen how death can be as good as it can be, when you have the right support system and my hope is that everyone can support this appeal to make sure every other family in the region has the same opportunity that we did as a family and Mum had.

Luke's Mum