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Nurses support family carer’s vital role

Kathryn and her mother

Kathryn has been her mother’s unsung hero as her principal carer for three years, with specialised support from Bolton Clarke.

Kathryn’s mother was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) six years ago. PAH is a progressive disease and requires constant monitoring and complex treatments.

The Taylors Hill resident, 43, says the job of being a carer for her mother is constant but says she is grateful for the support of Bolton Clarke’s at home support team and “wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Last week was National Carer’s Week (16 – 22 October) and was a time to recognise the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.

“The week recognises the quiet work people are doing on a daily basis,” Kathryn said.

“It’s multi-faceted to be a carer and provide peace of mind for a loved one to know they have a support network.”

Kathryn said she has found the At-Home support provided by Bolton Clarke a lifeline during these tough times.

“I didn’t know how many support services were available until I linked in with Bolton Clarke,” she said.

“Mum has a Home Care Package Level 4 and Bolton Clarke helped me with home care, and I have a cleaner come in every fortnight along with a personal carer to assist with bathing.

“Bolton Clarke has helped me so much with wound care too, to treat ulcers on her legs which I never thought would heal. 

“I accessed crucial supports through the Carer Gateway where I found a psychologist to help me justify my feelings.

“Palliative care is also available at different stages and these services helped me and we’re so grateful to have them. 

“One of our nurses has been so understanding and caring that she has become essentially family.

“It’s a wonderful community at Bolton Clarke and a great range of community services provided especially with continuity of care. 

“They have really helped us through this tough time and the nurses have absolutely helped extend mum’s longevity and quality of life at home.”

Kathryn said her focus was on making her mother’s day better every day.

“I moved in with her during COVID-19 and I brought my coffee machine over because she collects teacup sets, so she enjoys a coffee everyday in the best China.

“I know she is surrounded by the people she loves, and she knows her nurses and carers so we don’t have strangers in our home.

“Mum is on eight litres of oxygen a minute 24 hours a day and we’re all on high rotation in case of power outage.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend all the time I want with her.

“Mum always appreciates what I do because I am helping extend her quality of life.”

Kathryn’s advice for other carer’s is to take good care of themselves.

“It’s important for a carer to look after themself and recognise their own needs because it’s easy to put yourself last,” she said.

“Having support at home means you can organise time for yourself which will help with your mental health during and after because life will continue to happen.”