Pumps add dignity to dying

GOING home to die is the last wish of most terminally ill people.

Jodie Gardner of South Penrith lost her mother Susan Gardner to cancer last January.

"I was at [Nepean Hospital's palliative care] ward with my mother, caring for her for 10 days," she said.

"The nursing staff were good, giving her morphine and what she needed.

"But at the end, we all want our family around us; to be loved; to be pain-free."

Self-injecting syringes, Niki pumps, enable people to regularly absorb medications without medical assistance, so they can stay at home.

But the syringe pumps are not always available.

After her mother's death Miss Gardner approached the Ross Hutchison Foundation, a Penrith charity, about raising funds for more pumps.

Ross Hutchison, who chairs the foundation, formally presented three Niki pumps to Nepean Hospital recently, increasing its stock to seven.

"The fact that there were no Niki pumps for Jodie's mother is what drove her campaign," Mr Hutchison said.

He said more people would be able to spend their last days at home over the holiday season.

"These are people on their last legs, but this gives them a choice; the dignity of dying at home instead of in an unfamiliar hospital ward," he said.

Mr Hutchison praised the nurses who visited patients' homes each day to ensure their medications were available.

Nepean Hospital's nursing unit manager Margaret Matusewicz thanked the foundation for its donation.

"These will be important for pain-control work in our ward and allowing patients to go home," Mrs Matusewicz said.

"It's important if that's what patients and their families want."

Mr Hutchison said that without Miss Gardner's efforts, it would not have happened.

"Because of her, more people can spend their last days with their families," he said.

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