Phillip's dream splash becomes a reality

 Phillip Derbidge at Prairiewood Leisure Centre.
Phillip Derbidge at Prairiewood Leisure Centre.

Palliative care patient Phillip Derbidge had a dream. A simple dream. He wanted to go for a swim.

And thanks to HammondCare's Braeside Hospital, that dream became a reality recently.

Mr Derbidge, 57, of Casula, is battling prostate cancer. He originally wanted to swim in his pool at home but his health circumstances made this impossible. So staff recently organised a swim at the Prairiewood Leisure Centre.

"I wanted to see how much relief the water would give me for my back," Mr Derbidge said. "It was great - I enjoyed it a lot."

His wish was met under the Hospital's Dreams Project funded by private donations. Six patients this year have had wishes met as part of the project including a meal catered by a local restaurant in the dining room with family and a jewellery piece for a loved one.

Social Work Manager Rochelle Leonide said nominated dreams must be achievable in a palliative care setting.

"It may not work to go for a week down the south coast - or for that matter Disneyland - if the patient is too sick to leave the ward," Ms Leonide said. "The dream could be as simple as a $30 cake or if they are well enough a golf day with friends. It's important for the patient that the dream is something they can enjoy and contribute to themselves with family or friends."

Braeside Hospital, a subacute palliative care specialist care unit for the Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool local government areas, is this week celebrating Palliative Care Week. Last year the hospital catered for 344 admissions.

Nurse Unit Manager Rosemaree Estrada said Braeside prides itself in how it meets patient needs from all backgrounds at their most challenging times. She said the embracing of diversity includes offering menus that take into account different cultures, including vegetarian options.

"Being in a multicultural area, families will bring their own food for loved ones - we encourage it," she said.

"We have Pastors, Priests, Imams, and Buddhist monks coming to visit and meet the spiritual needs of patients."