Caroline Belfanti

Caroline Belfanti in front of greenery

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Community Palliative Care Team 

Calvary Hospital

“We provide support and ongoing management for patients who have a life-limiting illness, prepare them for end of life either at home, or to stay at home for as long as possible. Our role is to help them to live well with their disease and manage their symptoms. We have a holistic approach to our patient care.  An essential component is knowing what’s important to the patient, what their wishes are and what their goals are. 

I remember a gentleman in his late 40’s who had metastatic lung cancer. The most important thing in his life was his dog. He would go to clinics and we would see him at home but he never wanted to be admitted, until one weekend when I was too concerned to leave him. He’d come to the realisation that he needed to surrender his dog, but couldn’t afford it. He had a friend that could look after the dog for a couple of days, but finding a home for it was really the focus of what we needed to do first, apart from managing his pain and nausea. The dog was adopted out and it came back to see him a few times, until it was too sad for him to see it. I think it’s an example of how you can make a difference and treat someone with respect, dignity and no judgement regardless of their background and their circumstances.”