Nurses involved in community care providing palliative home care share a patient’s experience to highlight the importance of compassion.
In the area of palliative home care, the impact of compassionate community work cannot be overstated. As senior enrolled nurses, we are privileged to witness the profound influence we have on patients and their families, even within the constraints of time. Our recent encounter with Mr Tuam Kok Wah, a resident at Charis Manor Nursing Home, exemplifies the transformative power of simple gestures and empathetic care.
During one of our visits, we discovered that Mr Tuam’s declining appetite had caused him to be isolated from his friends, who gathered eagerly for meals. Recognising the importance of safeguarding each patient’s preferences, we decided to delve into his cravings and food preferences. Mr Tuam expressed a longing for food such as char kway teow with cockles, pig trotters and durian. We promised to bring these delicacies during our next visit, intending to bring him comfort and joy.
Arriving at Charis Manor the following week, we found Mr Tuam fully immersed in his favourite mukbang (eating show) on YouTube. The sight of him lying in bed, captivated by what he’s watching, revealed his anticipation of our arrival. We uncovered the long-awaited pig trotters and durian which we brought, and the sheer delight that illuminated Mr Tuam’s face will be forever etched in our memories. His unbridled enthusiasm and gratitude brought tears to our eyes. As he savoured every morsel of his beloved meal, we realised the transformative power of such simple acts of kindness. While Mr Tuam does get to enjoy his favourite pig trotters moderately which Charis Manor provides, it is not as often as he would like dur to the dietary regime planned for him.
Mr Tuam’s joy was not merely derived from the tastes he relished but also from the memories evoked by the pig trotters, one of many meals that his late wife used to prepare with love. In that precious moment, we were not just nurses providing palliative care; we became conduits of compassion, bridging past and present, and offering solace amidst life’s challenges. Experiences like this reaffirm the profound significance of a nurse’s role in palliative home care. Although our time with each patient may be fleeting, the impact we make through acts of compassion is immeasurable. By going beyond medical tasks and recognising the unique preferences and desires of our patients, we can create meaningful connections and moments of joy, reminding them that they are valued individuals, not just recipients of care.
Our commitment to compassionate community work remains unwavering, and our encounter with Mr Tuam highlights the transformative power of fulfilling a patient’s desires, even within the confines of limited time. By embracing the individuality of each person under our care, we can create meaningful moments that alleviate suffering and enhance their overall well-being.
Compassionate community work in palliative home care transcends the boundaries of time, leaving a lasting impact on both patients and caregivers. As nurses, we understand that our role encompasses more than just medical care; it includes embracing the essence of human connection and enhancing the quality of life for those entrusted to our care. By cherishing moments of joy and personalising our approach, we can create a compassionate environment where patients feel seen, heard and valued until their final moments. Let us continue to embrace the spirit of compassion, weaving a tapestry of care and support for those entrusted to us in their final stages of life.
Photos: Singapore Cancer Society