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Palliative Care Through the Lens of a Nurse

Palliative Care Through the Lens of a Nurse

It’s good to see things from another perspective and as such we are introducing a segment called “Palliative Care Through The Lens of A Nurse” in our newsletters. In this edition, we feature Neli Xaba, who shared with us her view on palliative care and the role our nurses play in our community.

Neli has been with Hospice East Rand for two years and is responsible for several areas including Germiston and Boksburg. To read the full story click here.

“Throughout my 20-year nursing career, I have gained valuable knowledge and skills to take care of patients with various life-limiting conditions. It is difficult dealing with treatment failures and poor prognosis and worrying when a decision is taken to stop a patient’s treatment because there is nothing else that can be done. This troubled me as we cannot just abandon patients when curative care has failed,” she says. For this reason, she became a palliative nurse.

Neli explained palliative care provides a cloak of comfort to patients suffering from life-limiting illnesses and those at the end-stage of their chronic conditions, as well as support for their families.

Palliative care includes a holistic approach and addresses patients as a whole taking their physical, psychosocial, spiritual and cultural aspects into account

“We consider both patient and family as a unit of care. Our main focus is on pain relief and improving the patient’s quality of life rather than lengthening the days of life,” she explains. Her day-to-day duties include home-based visits where comprehensive assessments of the patient and family are required. “It is important to provide comfort, manage pain and other distress symptoms and reminding families that they are not alone. As palliative care nurses we are there to listen, assist and help them manage the care of their loved ones until the end of that person’s life. This gives me peace and fulfilment in my job as a palliative care nurse.”

“I would not change my job for anything. It provides a great sense of motivation to continue my service to humankind even during these unprecedented times,” Neli concludes.

Neli encouraged health workers in acute care to integrate palliative care in their practice. Nurses need to know that palliative care can be delivered in the most appropriate setting for the patient and family, be it a hospital, Hospice, clinics, frail care or in the comfort of the patient’s homes by palliative care trained staff.

There are many misconceptions around palliative care. People think palliative care is just for cancer patients and that Hospice is a place people go to die. This is untrue. “I hope highlighting our work will bring clarity to our communities so they can seek the help they need”. Neli says.

Outside of work, Neli is a mom of two and wife to Mbongiseni Nzuza. She is adventurous, loves socialising, retail therapy and travelling for fun.