Dr Lainie's Story

Dr Lainie is a GP in Gympie and relies on the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service for her patients’ health care needs. She is aware of a concerning gap in available care for her palliative patients.

“The Queensland health based Palliative care team is fantastic and provides a great service for the northern end of the coast, however they are very limited in the service they can provide. At present, the only option for palliative patients and their families is to be supported at home or in hospital. For a large proportion of patients, both home or in hospital are unacceptable options. And for these people, there is simply nowhere to go.”

“There are many reasons why some patients find hospital care unacceptable. For personal and cultural reasons, the hospital is a frightening place. You can only imagine how people must feel once they have reached their end of life care - invasive treatments, injections, chemotherapy, terrible pain, nausea, good and bad encounters with staff, hope and grief - all these experiences accumulate. The hospital environment evokes strong sensory responses with their noises, sights and smells and all of this considered, it’s no wonder for some patients a hospital bed is the last place they’d want to be.”

Dr Lainie also understands the limitations of palliative care in the home.

“Whilst some patients request to die at home, for many this is simply not appropriate. Often people live by themselves and do not have friends or family they can rely on. Others live with children or vulnerable people who would not cope with death in the home. It is quite complex care from a medical and nursing perspective, and even the most capable spouse, friend or family member would struggle physically and emotionally through this difficult time. Whilst the palliative care team is helpful, what is needed is hospice care. Hospice care is the perfect alternative and it is tragic this is not more widely available.”

Dr Lainie is hopeful that once the remodelled Sunshine Hospice is up and running, it will not only provide a fantastic facility for her patients, but also well trained staff who can reliably manage the complex physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the palliative patient.