the path to change: Oncology
nurses leading the way

. :  Helena Akrigg (Vancouver)

Helena Akrigg, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

One rainy day, I was cleaning up my old greeting cards; I came across a thank you card from the daughter of a former client. Tears came to my eyes as I reflected on the story of Lilly.

During the disease trajectory, effective communication, collaboration, and advocacy can impact clients and their families significantly. Initially, Lilly and her family declined community nursing visits as they considered these visits were intrusive. When we established our therapeutic relationship, Lilly’s family was selective in which nurse could visit. To maintain hope, Lilly’s family advocated maintaining active treatment for her journey.

Meanwhile, a great deal of collaboration was needed to support Lilly with symptom management, psychosocial support, and care coordination.  Near the end, Lilly was admitted to a hospice where she spent 2 nights. Lilly’s family preferred to take her home for end of life care without consulting the health care team.

One beautiful summer evening, Amy called my work cell and inquired when the community nurses could visit. We managed to arrange a Shift Care Nurse to provide end of life care at home. Lilly died peacefully at home when her family was reading “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…Psalm 23” to her.

Helena Akrigg, RN BSN CON (C) CHPCN (C) MA (Ed)
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Community Health Nurse, Evergreen Community Health Centre

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