Our palliative care program is a vital part of the care we provide to enhance the well-being of our clients through all stages of their lives. Being able to deliver integrated care that can help clients live well and relieve their suffering is what motivates our team, especially in the case of helping to fulfill personal goals. This ‘Connected Care Story’ features the support our team was able to provide for Teresa*, a client who had a personal wish as she neared the end of her life.
Teresa had been working with her healthcare team at CBI Health for several months. As she was nearing the end of her life, she expressed that she had one goal that was important to her – to marry the love of her life. Her healthcare team quickly began to put together a plan that would best support Teresa and her family to help make her wish a reality.
In the weeks leading up to her wedding day**, Teresa’s healthcare team considered how they could provide interdisciplinary care that would help her maintain function in all aspects of her life. This included focusing her physiotherapy towards goals like maintaining endurance, balance and mobility to ensure Teresa would be able to comfortably participate in the events of her wedding day. Her Occupational Therapist also worked with her to check that the right pieces of equipment were used throughout the wedding to ensure the safety of Teresa and everyone attending.
One of the team’s biggest priorities was being able to provide individual care for Teresa’s family too. The social worker on the team offered family counselling to her children, working together on goals to help them cope throughout the process. Through our ‘Care for the Caregiver’ program, the team was also able to provide support to her partner, who was her primary caregiver.
On the morning of Teresa’s wedding, her team made a joint visit to congratulate the family and help her prepare and set up for her big day. They were able to decorate her wheelchair with thoughtful blue flowers to match her wedding colours and ensured that everyone felt confident for the celebrations ahead. After the wedding, Teresa and her family shared pictures of the wheelchair and the wedding, expressing that it was the most beautiful day and how much they appreciate the gesture.
After Teresa passed away, our team reached out to her partner to provide bereavement support and any additional care he needed. As he looks back at their wedding day, he reaffirms that it was the most special day and that their dream came true, especially because their children were overjoyed to see their mother so happy on her wedding day.
As our team debriefed on the support provided, they reflected on how much it meant to them that they were able be a part of Teresa’s special day. They were thankful that they could play even just a small part in making her wish come true, and that it would be a memory that they would keep close to their hearts, to bring smiles to their faces and keep them motivated.
*Client’s name has been changed
**The client's wedding day took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic