• Silver Chain offers a unique palliative care service in the home for clients living with dementia
• Silver Chain provides care to more than 830 West Australians with memory issues
• Almost half a million Australians are living with dementia
Leading in-home health and aged care provider Silver Chain has launched a unique service to make the end stage of life for West Australians with dementia or a memory impairment in palliative care easier.
The Palliative Dementia Service is run by Nurse Practitioners Giuliana Duffy and Claire Doyle, who provide palliative care for dementia clients and those with other chronic end of life conditions through Silver Chain’s palliative care service .
“This was set up to link in and support dementia and memory impairment clients at home,” Ms Doyle said. “We look at a variety of issues that may arise, such as symptom management, communication styles, the clients’ environment and their carers.”
Working closely with general practitioners (GPs) and geriatricians, Ms Duffy and Ms Doyle bring a holistic approach to their clients. The pair have expertise and advanced qualifications in both Palliative Care and Dementia. They are also able to review current medication and prescribe new medication if necessary as well as arrange any blood tests that may be required for clients in their homes.
“Hospital avoidance is the main aim of the service, but if clients are admitted, we want to ensure family members understand decisions regarding advance care planning,” Ms Duffy said. “Having a clear care plan in place takes away some of the natural stressors, so both the client and the family can focus on what is most important to them.”
Silver Chain client Sue is one of 460,000 Australians living with dementia. Her husband Doug is one of almost 1.6 million Australians involved in their care .
“Sue was diagnosed with early onset dementia about two years ago at the age of 60,” Doug said. “I noticed she was starting to forget little things. I saw multiple doctors who all dismissed what I was saying, then one finally gave her the dementia diagnosis.”
The couple has been supported by Silver Chain since Sue received yet another diagnosis earlier this year – duodenum cancer, or cancer of part of the small intestine.
“Sue underwent a ten-hour operation to remove the cancer and spent five weeks in hospital. We were referred to Jiulie (Ms Duffy) by Sue’s GP. She checks in and gives us support, and also filled in a form before Sue’s operation, so the hospital knew what she liked and disliked.”
The retiree said while he was dedicated to his wife, being her primary carer could be challenging at times.
“We are together 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “It can get overwhelming. But thanks to Jiulie’s help navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Sue can meet with similar people once a week and I can have a break. I am very glad that we were referred to Silver Chain, their support has been fabulous.”
Ms Doyle said the service was available to clients who met the criteria. “Clients need to have moderately severe dementia – assessed by a functional assessment scale – as well as agree to the service themselves and of course, be living at home.”
For more information on Silver Chain’s palliative care services, click here.