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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
My name is Elizabeth Shepherd and I am the Program Development and Quality Manager for Palliative Care at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. Working within this specialised area can be challenging and emotional, however, it can also be very rewarding. My position allows me to work closely with the 3 specialist PPC teams located at Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Newcastle. Together we are known as The NSW PPC Programme and over the past 5 years I have been fortunate to work with the energetic and dedicated staff from each service to improve the support that is available to children and families across NSW.
This is one of the questions that will be addressed in the Dying2Learn MOOC. As a palliative care doctor, it has been wonderful to have the opportunity to start this conversation, and I am looking forward to the interactions with real anticipation.
In developing this section of the MOOC I have tried hard not to assume too much about what participants should think or believe, or to push any particular perspective. Obviously that is a bit difficult for me, as my work for over a decade has been in the smoke and dust of the clinical battlefields where dying patients often end up i.e. acute hospitals. As palliative medicine clinicians we often feel like we are galloping in to rescue people from the hospital system, and (speaking for myself, anyhow) we can sometimes be a bit black and white about things. What I have learned though, over and over again, is that it is not simple for people. Many are unprepared for the decisions they will need to make, and - like BREXIT perhaps!- may not fully understand what they have let themselves in for until it is too late.