Palliative Care Team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane keeps patients safe during flooding
The Community Specialist Palliative Care Team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane went above and beyond to keep our patients safe during the flooding in early 2022.
We all know about the recent deluge of rain and the impact it had on South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales back in February 2022. Flooding caused major damage all over, but as a community we rallied through it together.
I was recently talking to Matt Lancaster, the Nurse Unit Manager Community Specialist Palliative Care, from St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane about what impact the flooding had on the patients care and was delighted to find that staff went above and beyond to help those most in need during these trying times.
Matt mentioned, obviously in normal times we look after people in their own homes where they feel comfortable but in such dramatic circumstances like these floods, it is even more important that they continue to be seen and not feel cut off or forgotten. Over that week of torrential rain there were numerous occasions where the support from our St Vincent’s family did enable my team and I to go “above and beyond” in supporting those patients in need, helping them to stay at home but still receive the care and compassion we pride ourselves on giving each day.
"These extra little things that happen, we do because we love our job and want the best possible outcome for our patients."
- Matt Lancaster, Nurse Unit Manager
Community Specialist Palliative Care
St Vincent's Private Hospital Brisbane
Can you imagine it being a Sunday afternoon, you are isolated in your home due to flooding and then find yourself running out of medication but have no way of getting out of your house? Your family are not local, so they are unable to help. Where do you turn? One of our patients was in this circumstance and luckily, they reached out to Matt, and he was able to step up and help out. He got into his 4x4 vehicle and drove to the hospital to pick up the medication and then headed out to deliver it to the patient in need in their home. This took away a lot of stress from the patient and avoided hospital admission.
The same week another patient noticed the flood waters rising around their home were increasing fast and their house started to flood. With the constant rainfall and the rapidly rising waters, they needed assistance in getting out safely and moving into their daughter’s home. Even though it was the middle of the night, they reached out and asked for help from St Vincent’s. A nurse from Matt’s team heard their plight and demonstrated care and compassion by helping them make the emergency move.
The final story Matt told me was about a patient who lived in an apartment building in the city. Brisbane City, being located on the banks of the Brisbane River, was one of the hardest affected regions with all of the rain. Our patient was stuck in their apartment and having an illness, they still needed to have their treatment looked after by a specialised nurse. When the nurse arrived, they found that the lifts in the apartment building were not in working order. So they climbed the 18 flights of stairs with all of their equipment needed to see the patient. The patient was very relieved to see that a happy caring face was there to look after them in that time of need.
Some people would perceive Matt and his team as superheroes for what they do, but they think otherwise. They are intrinsically motivated by making a world of difference to their patients who are grappling with a life limiting illness and hope to take away some of the strain from an already stressful situation.
I hope you can agree that our nurses go above and beyond and should feel proud of all they do. That is what St Vincent’s is all about, showing care and compassion to all those in need.
St Vincent's Foundation Queensland