Family leads push for dedicated palliative care unit at Nepean Hospital

Leigh Nadalini, Tammy Vassallo, Sharyn Hayward and Darren Hayward. Photo Melinda Jane.
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A Penrith family has started a petition to the NSW Parliament for a Palliative Care Unit to be included in the Nepean Hospital upgrades.

The wife of William, Sharyn Hayward and their children believe the 75-year-old would have received a more peaceful goodbye when he passed away on June 18 if he were in a dedicated unit.

Mr Hayward’s daughter, Tammy Vassallo said her dad suffered a very quick decline over three weeks for unknown reasons, which left him in a non-verbal infant like state, leaving the family to have to advocate for his needs.

“My mum and I got to know the routine of the hospital and for the majority of his stay there were three teams of two people to look after the 30-bed ward he was in,” Ms Vassallo said.

“It is not the staff’s fault, you can only deal with what you are given but it is unacceptable that because he couldn’t walk or talk that he was left last, and it would not have happened if he had dedicated palliative care nurses.”

One of Mr Hayward’s other children, Leigh Nadalini said her father being on an oncology ward with restrictions made it hard for the family at the end of his life.

“The palliative care team were only notified two days before he passed and showed him so much respect at the end but when they left the ward we were back to limited visiting hours and other issues,” Ms Nadalini said.

“All we wanted to do was show him the compassion that he had showed throughout his whole life to people, and we couldn’t.”

NBMLHD Director of Hospital Services, Brett Williams said the district is committed to ongoing improvements in palliative care services.

“We continue to work with patients, their families, advocates and other health care providers to integrate and extend palliative care services to meet the needs of our patients and community,” Mr Williams said.

“Nepean Hospital has six dedicated palliative care beds available for patients and provision for additional palliative care beds is included in the $1 billion Nepean Redevelopment.”

Member for Mulgoa, Tanya Davies said she supports the petition and will work with NBMLHD and NSW Government to secure a dedicated palliative care unit.

“I have been directly approached by two separate families within the past month calling for a dedicated palliative care unit staffed with specialist trained professionals at Nepean Hospital,” Ms Davies said.

“A peaceful and dedicated palliative care unit at Nepean Hospital is a critical need for our community and can provide a supported and serene environment for the whole family during a distressful time.”

To sign the petition visit

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