Living a healthy and happy life that brings you joy is as much a gift as is dying well. Naturally we focus on living and don’t associate living with our final days. However, Kate Spurway, founder of NurseWatch wants to challenge our thinking for good so that we can embrace the concept of dying well and, by doing so, help others to do the same.
Kate believes the lead up to our last breath is just as important to ourselves and our loved ones as living our best life from the day we are born, and she wants us all to reimagine palliative care whenever it is an option so that is a privilege and a celebration of life.
A proud career and “bread and butter” nurse for over 30 years who has dedicated her life to offering the best care possible to everyone she cares for at every stage of their life, Kate Spurway has seen a lot of life and death in hospitals, nursing homes and private homes. She is frequently asked to present at and submit abstracts at conferences in Australia and around the world on the subject of helping a person to die well. Despite losing her own mother suddenly in a car crash without the warning and precious acceptance time that quality palliative care offers, Kate’s commitment to offering the best end of life experience that is based as much as possible on the choice of the person and with respect to their cultural and religious wishes has never waivered.
No hesitation to share learnings for best care
A member of Public Health Palliative Care International (PHPCI) and Palliative Care NSW with whom she also sat on the Committee in 2010, Kate proactively shares her broad palliative care knowledge with the healthcare sector, her clients and her own team of Compassionaires at NurseWatch. One of NurseWatch’s registered nurses, Efi Madentzoglou will be completing the highly respected Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) at Sydney’s Prince Of Wales Hospital as part of the new graduate Transition To Practice Program funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA). This is the first time a primary health care service has received this level of funding and Kate is very proud of that as it allows NurseWatch to continue to offer the best quality of care for the best health outcomes.
Kate’s own PEPA placement took her to Walgett in country NSW ten years ago where she learned about rural palliative care nursing from Jane Keir, who had received an Order of Australia for her services to the community and dedication to rural nursing just two years earlier. Over hundreds of kilometres from Lighting Ridge to Goodooga to Collarenebri in indigenous communities and regional hospitals, Jane taught Kate about the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to die with dignity their way, regardless of where they lived and how they identified.
“I once nursed a beautiful indigenous lady in regional Northern NSW who wanted to die outside in the trees with her cowboy hat on her head, with Slim Dusty playing in the background and her people around her. We simply wheeled her outside amongst the trees in her hospital bed and she died the way she chose to, surrounded by the people she called her tribe. I think dying well is a social and cultural experience and a privilege to be part of.”
2019 presentations and abstracts
Last year, Kate presented at three conferences on the subject of dying well and had a further two abstract posters accepted.
August 2019: 13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference, Indonesia
Abstract poster presentation accepted: Diversity and inclusive palliative care in the home
September 2019, Palliative Care Workshop, NSW Nurses & Midwives Association, Gymea, NSW
The presentation: Dying Well. Death is social and cultural, the last great adventure. It’s everybody’s business.
Key learnings: We need to normalise death as a normal part of life, that can be done well at home
October 2019: APNS Home Care Providers HR & Meeting Client Demand Forum and Annual General Meeting, Melbourne, VIC
The presentation: Delivering palliative care in-home
The emerging role of in-home care providers delivering palliative care. What is important to know? How can you develop your workforce to be able to deliver best-practice support for dying at home?
Key learnings: The importance of quality clinical care to facilitate dying as you choose in your own home.
October 2019: Ageing with Pride, 4th National LGBT&I Ageing & Aged Care Conference, Melbourne, VIC
The presentation: Dying Well within the wellness care social model – A cultural and social perspective
Key learnings: Inclusive care is something we all need facilitate for best health outcomes. Person-centred care is compassionate, considers everything from the person’s point of view and is respectful.
From keynote speaker, Ita Buttrose: “Ageing with attitude” is the only way to grow older.
October 2019: 6th Public Health Palliative Care International Conference, Leura, NSW
Abstract poster presentation accepted: Diversity and Inclusive Palliative & Hospice Care Practice within the Home Care Environment
Kate will continue to be a passionate voice for the best end of life possible for everyone because she knows it’s possible from a clinical perspective.
If you would like to see her present at the Palliative Care Workshop for the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association on 23 March from 9am – 4:30pm in Springwood, NSW, register here.
Contact Kate for support and advisory services
Don’t hesitate to contact Kate directly to discuss palliative care and the art of dying well for your family on 0417 276 572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like Kate to present at one of your events, email email@example.com.
To stay in touch with the latest insights from Kate Spurway and NurseWatch, feel free to connect with Kate Spurway on LinkedIn here, follow NurseWatch on Facebook here or follow NurseWatch on Instagram here.
You’re always welcome at www.nursewatch.com.au.
Photo by Scott Webb