Palliative care is an area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of residents and is used for residents who are nearing the end of their life. Palliative medicine utilises a multidisciplinary approach to resident care, relying on input from doctors, nurses, the palliative care team and other allied health professionals in formulating a plan of care to relieve suffering in all areas of the resident’s life. This team focuses on the physical, emotional, spiritual and social concerns that arise with advanced terminal illness. The focus is on the residents quality of life.
At Riviera Health we have a dedicated team in each of our homes that focus on palliative care through our ‘Butterfly Programme‘.
Why a butterfly? A butterfly signifies moving from one life to another.
The aim of the Butterfly programme is to:
- To provide extra care to residents approaching the end of their lives
- To ensure residents end their lives pain-free and anxiety-free
- To bring comfort to the residents and their families
- To actively involve the family in the dying process
The programme is about a group of caring people, from all walks of life in the facility, bringing extra care and comfort to the dying.
What the staff do:
- Visit with the resident when time permits – it can be 5 minutes or 15
- Give them a hand/foot massage
- Talk to them
- Burn some calming oils
- Put some of their favourite music on – choices include classical, jazz, modern, blues, meditation, country.
- Read to them – books supplied include the Bible, prayer books, inspirational books, poetry.
- Just hold their hand
The staff see this programme as a way of adding quality to the life of our dying residents. The best reward for the staff is knowing the resident lived their life until they died. The reactions from our families, although during a very stressful time, is very encouraging. Many thank you cards and letters have been received saying how much they appreciated the extra special things that were done for their loved ones during their Butterfly journey.
The music, reading, hand massages and every visit, no matter how short or how long, touched lives in a very special way.