It’s a GOG Christmas Delivery!

Yesterday we were incredibly privileged to deliver over three large suitcases full of beautifully handmade Christmas Goodies, to the Canberra Hospital on behalf of all of us here at GOG!! 🎁🎄 What an amazing achievement!! 🤩

First stop, Amy who was working hard under the Foundation Givemas Tree! 😍 Next it was off to the ICU balcony with Genevieve, Isabel, Richard, Kath and Tess to meet with some of the ‘ICU Angels’ who, on top of their usual busy days, will be charged with delivering some of this ‘GOG love’ over the next few weeks. 💕 Thank you to all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet and chat with us yesterday!

We hope these Goodies will provide patients and their loved ones with more than just physical warmth in their time of need; but the warmth contained in the hearts of each of their creators. 💖

A huge thank you to everyone who had a hand in this amazing delivery! You’re kindness and caring is priceless! 😊 💕💖

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I love how GOGs vision and philosophy connects people to make others who are in vulnerable places this Christmas a little bit better.
Thanks to everyone behind the scenes in the GOG community, ICU, Volunteer services, The Hospital Foundation and Media and Communications for all their support to make patients and families time in hospital this Christmas a bit nicer . Kathleen Cook
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What a privilege to be part of this! 😍 – Amanda Hensley
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 Love this 😊

Canberra Health Services Volunteer Awards

So proud today of these two today, Mary Barlow and Carol Richards. Two volunteers representing two fantastic projects making a difference to the patient experience in ICU.

Mary representing the amazing GOG community.
Carol for all the work she does as a floor volunteer in ICU and supporting Therapy Dog Project.


Thanks to Carly Silberberg for nominating. – Kathleen

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Winner!! 😎🥳🥂
So proud of your beautiful vision, Mary Barlow! Congratulations on this official recognition. Bring on 2020!

Woolverine Christmas Super Heroes!

The Woolverines have done it again!! 😁 Look at these super cute ‘super heroes’, all ready to bring some joy this Christmas! 💕 A huge thank you to Sue and her amazing group of generous and creative students at SFX! Thank you for your support over the last two years, and I can’t wait to see your skills and creativity grow in the future! 💖💖

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ICU Feedback – December

Dear Gogs,
This photo was shared with me with permission to share with the GOG community, in appreciation for this beautiful blanket that was gifted during a hospitalization and now continues to give joy and comfort at home.
Thank you GOGs. Xx

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Sometimes it is very difficult for a family member to come into our ICU environment, which for some people many be sensory overwhelming. In these situations we are discovering that if those family members are supported to choose a comfort item, to be placed on their loved ones bed to represent their absence, but show their support. Later the comfort goods will be taken home by the family member that chose it. My colleagues shared this with me and fed back how therapeutic it was.
You are doing good things. Kath Xx

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New hospital care program to comfort the dying and their loved ones.

Ian Bushnell – 5 December 2019 (Riot ACT)

Tess Knight and Toni Ashmore
ICU Registered Nurse Tess Knight and Senior Project Officer for Territory-wide End of Life and Palliative Care Toni Ashmore with Comfort Care items in the Intensive Care Unit at Canberra Hospital. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

Watching a loved one die can be the worst day of anyone’s life, but it need not be without its comforts or memories that can help family and friends in their bereavement.

That’s the basis of a new care program being rolled out across Canberra Hospital that offers simple but effective items to make a difficult and confronting time if not less painful then at least more comforting.

Senior Project Officer for Territory-wide End of Life and Palliative Care Toni Ashmore says the medical literature shows three key elements around what is known as ‘comfort care’: physical and emotional comfort, a conducive environment, and legacy or memory-making.

The Comfort at the End of Life Care package is a result of feedback from the Assembly inquiry into end of life care, already existing practices across individual hospital wards and a recent survey of staff and consumers.

The care package contains items such as candles and lamps to create a softer ambience; soft toys for children and to calm agitated family members; rugs, quilts and weighted blankets to warm and relax patients and loved ones; and memory boxes to take away precious items such as locks of hair.

Also coming is a ‘cuddle bed’, a key request from the survey, so family members and friends can hold their dying loved one.

Ms Ashmore says the items were not random but evidence-based measures with proven effectiveness for helping people deal with death – a major life event.

Care items
Comfort Care items: “In essence, people want to be cared for, they want to feel safe.”

The program, funded by the Canberra Hospital Foundation, also includes a brochure that explains what can be offered but also what families can bring of their own to make the space their own, including photos, music and any other significant items, and suggestions for how to spend time at bedside.

It also outlines the social and spiritual support services available.

Ms Ashmore says there are no right or wrong ways to share time with a loved one’s final hours and staff are there to ask what people’s needs were and try to have them met.

Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse Tess Knight says there is a sacredness about where and how people die, and a deep desire in the culture for keepsakes and mementos.

“In essence, people want to be cared for, they want to feel safe, that requires simple things like the nurses’ presence and ambience, and for families the simplicity of a warm blanket, because when you grieve you get very cold,” she says.

Ms Knight says dimming the lights or the use of deodoriser or essential oil such as lavender also help people cope with the physical effects of dying, such as the changing skin colour and smells.

The care package also includes thumb or fingerprinting, so people can take away a memory of their loved one.

Specially made carry bags with the End of Life Care tree logo are also available for family members to take their loved one’s belongings as well as the personalised knitted rugs available.

Tess Knight with a knitted rug
Tess Knight placing a specially knitted rug on a bed in ICU.

An army of volunteers provides soft knitted toys and rugs. Two adult dream quilts are being designed and created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a focus on connection to country and totems.

The Foundation also funds a qualified therapeutic harpist who can provide soothing music at the bedside.

iPads can connect family members no matter where they be, overcome language barriers or simply display photos.

Ms Knight says families will go back over this [end of life] moment with MRI precision, and families need to have a narrative around the dying.

“If we can fill that with as much beauty, dignity and care, and ease, it really helps them shape the story which had huge implications for how the bereavement is down the track,” she says.

Ms Knight says that for staff, being able to provide these comforts is immensely satisfying, and is a return to the core business of nursing – caring for people.

Ms Ashmore says the comfort program adheres to the palliative care gold standard of meeting the spiritual, psychological, and emotional needs of the patient and family.

She says the hospital will also be offering follow-up support to families who have lost a loved one there.

What a lovely article! We here at GOG feel incredibly privileged to be part of such an important and compassionate initiative and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank each and every GOG member who has put time and love into each and every stitch; whether it’s a crochet, knitted or machine stitch, to create some of these beautiful comfort items. It’s lovely to see our GOG gifts so prominent in this article and in this initiative, and we look forward to continuing our support across the ACT Health services in the new year! 🙂 Well done Tess. ❤️ – Mary

Craft and Conversation!

Today GOG in conjunction with Northside Community Service held its first ‘Craft and Conversation’ session at Margret Hendry School. The focus today was crochet and getting to know each other. It wasn’t long before chains as long as your arm were being skillfully made and the room was full of conversation and loads of laughter! 🤩

Thank you to everyone who joined us today, as well as the Northside Community Service and Margret Hendry School for making this possible. We look forward to seeing you all again next week! 😍

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