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HomeNewsSide-by-side: the journey of carers through hospital

Side-by-side: the journey of carers through hospital

For Jade Parkinson and his sisters and carers, Simone and Sharlene, trips to hospital are a reality of living with cerebral palsy – but they all agree their experience has got better every visit.

From the moment they walked through the door at Royal North Shore Hospital this time around, the south Sydney based siblings were comforted, having already been in touch with Barbara Lewis and the NSLHD Carer Support Service.

“It’s all the little things she does before you get here but then it’s just knowing you’ve got someone here to help break down any barrier you may have,” Simone said.

“She says ‘this is what we need to do, we’ll get this sorted for you’. She helps get us set up correctly with carer’s meals, the bed in the room – you don’t have to chase the nurses because it’s already done.

“It’s also about knowing you’ve got somebody to call if anything goes wrong or if there’s any help you need.”

While Jade has been a patient at the hospital before, both Simone and Sharlene said they have seen a real change for the better in attitudes towards carers, with staff acknowledging their deep knowledge of Jade’s needs and working with them to deliver a positive experience for all.

“It makes life easier all round; firstly for the patient, because they have a friendly face here they are comfortable with that they know will support them 100 per cent,” Simone said.

It makes life easier all round; firstly for the patient, because they have a friendly face here they are comfortable with that they know will support them 100 per cent.
Simone Parkinson, Jade's sister and carer

“He understands everything we’re saying, but he’s pretty non-verbal – he can say certain words. He can get a bit of anxiety so for him knowing there’s people around him that he knows helps a lot.

“Then for the nurses and doctors, if they come in and ask Jade a question, he tries to answer but we can relay what he’s trying to say.

“We’re not here as a hindrance – we’re here to help; we’re here to help Jade and we’re here to help the staff.”

Simone said Jade’s latest stay in Ward 5E had been the smoothest yet, with Jade feeling more comfortable than ever.

“It was nice to come back and everyone recognising him, saying ‘hi Jade, how are you?’” she said.

“It’s a family friendly place for him, with all the old faces and it give us a bit of comfort.”

As for any advice for those who have a loved one they care for and are due a stay at hospital, Simone did not hesitate in recommending getting in touch with the NSLHD Carer Support Service.

 “It’s a godsend service – it really is,” Simone said.

“Get in touch with Carer Support, ask questions because some people might not know what to bring or what to do.”

Carer Support are available Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm and can be phoned on 02 9462 9488 or via email at [email protected]
 

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