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Living final dreams

Darling Downs palliative care co-ordinator Kim Youlden is dedicated to getting patients’ final moments right. This week is National Palliative Care Week.
Darling Downs palliative care co-ordinator Kim Youlden is dedicated to getting patients’ final moments right. This week is National Palliative Care Week. Kerri Burns-Taylor

WHETHER she is helping a terminally ill patient live out their final dream or holding their hand during their last moments, Kim Youlden is making a difference.

She and a dedicated team of palliative care workers spend each day delivering care, counselling and companionship to patients who are preparing to die.

While many would struggle to deal with the sadness that must come from such a profession, Mrs Youlden said she was passionate about the job she loves.

"When people die, I cry - I'm human. But I am also passionate about getting the end of people's lives right - and you only get one chance to get it right," she said.

Mrs Youlden said she always encouraged her patients to live out their dreams and has even recreated an oceanside wish with sand, a Hawaiian shirt and music.

During the past 10 years, she has come to realise what mattered most in life and said her job had changed her outlook on life.

"I tell my husband and kids I love them every day and I drink out of the good glasses - every day," she said.

Her time and care does not go unnoticed for patients, a fact that became clear to her at the funeral of her youngest palliative patient ever, a 13-day-old baby.

Mrs Youlden spent eight hours by the side of a mother preparing to grieve the loss of her child and the nurse received a special thankyou at the baby's farewell.

"I was overwhelmed that they mentioned me and thanked me and although I played a small role, the impact was profound," she said.

Mrs Youlden said she wanted patients and their families to understand there was help available for people's final stage of life.

"We're there as much or as little as they like, and we try to make it so they're using their energy for things they want to do, not things they have to do," she said.

Topics:  counselling pallative care terminally ill



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