This week marks one year since Parkville’s Ward 1A opened its doors, as part of the Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service.

In September 2020, during the height of Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak, Peter Mac’s Ward 1A opened the doors to its new purpose-built palliative care facility.

With the aim of achieving the best possible quality of life for people with advanced illness, a multidisciplinary team was built, bringing together specialist palliative care and community nurses, highly experienced Peter Mac clinicians, and other skilled professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

While at the time, most of the team had not yet worked together, they have now forged a strong, supportive and connected unit. Nurse Unit Manager, Holly Pitt, describes the nursing team as “a remarkable group of skilled nurses who not only provide exceptional care to patients and families, but continue to support, uplift and encourage one another every day.”

“They bring smiles and laughter to a time of sadness and struggle. Ward 1A is a beautiful space and I believe people go home remembering the team here, the eyes behind the masks, and the warmth and safety of the care they receive,” Holly said.

This sentiment is certainly reflected in the hundreds of cards, gifts, and glowing reviews from families, visitors and carers.

In one recent letter, the family member of a patient wrote of their father:

“He told me he was scared and when I asked what I could do to help, he said he just wanted to go to Peter Mac… He wasn’t going anywhere if it wasn’t here where he felt truly cared for, where he felt he was safe in the hands of people who genuinely cared about him, where he felt like he wasn’t just another cancer patient, but a real person who had lived and loved.”

Associate Professor Brian Le, inaugural Director of the Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service, said that the team has cared for hundreds of patients and their families, during this difficult time.

“I am so proud of this team and what it has been able to achieve over the past year, which has seen really challenging times for our patients, families and indeed our staff,” he said.

Looking ahead at the next twelve months, the team are looking forward to investing in research, clinical trials, and investigating ways to improve treatments and service delivery models.

“We’re providing innovative care, undertaking clinical research and always looking at ways to improve the care we provide – particularly for those with special needs, like those who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Adolescent and Young Adult patients, as well as all those who come through our doors,” said Associate Professor Le.

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Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service