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Bob in dialysis knowing his wife is well cared for

Published: 18 March 2019

UNDERGOING treatment of any kind can be a stressful ordeal for people, but issues at home can also add to their worries.

For 88-year-old Bob Kent, he had the worry of leaving his wife, who has dementia, at home.

He spends nine hours a week receiving dialysis treatment and now has peace of mind knowing his wife of 63 years is in safe hands.

“I started looking at services on my own and it just got too hard,” he said.

“I mentioned it to my doctor and he told me I could talk to one of the social workers, who could get me in touch with some providers.

“They do a wonderful job and I needed them because I knew nothing about welfare at that stage.

“I had to get them because with dementia it doesn’t get any better.”

Mr Kent said he didn’t know where he would be without the help the social workers provided him.

“The girls care, they know what’s going on and they’re hands-on,” he said.

“While I’m up here (at the hospital) doing dialysis the carers are at home looking after my wife and when I finish I make sure I’m home by 10.45am so that carer can go on to the next one and it works out pretty well.

“I was really worried about how she was at home, there are many different types of dementia.”
Bundaberg Hospital senior social worker Sarah Birch said while people go to the hospital for their health, there is so much more to them than their diagnosis.

“I feel quite honoured to be able to share people’s lives with them when often there’s quite difficult experiences they’re going through, and if I can give that person something that’s going to make things a little bit easier for them, I feel at the end of the day I’ve done a good job,” she said.

“Whether it’s a bit of information or connecting them with a service, or sometimes it’s more than that.

“Sometimes people need quite a lot of emotional support throughout their stay or their journey through the health system.

“Letting people know, or anyone know, when you come to hospital if there’s concerns other than just your diagnosis and that you feel you need support, that’s the role the social workers are here for.”

She said the field of social work is very diverse.

“I think there’s always space for social workers in the world,” she said.

“I do know of late there are more young people going into social work and I think it’s great.”

With tomorrow being World Social Work Day, Sarah said it’s a chance to acknowledge the role they play in the health sector.

“It is a special role and it’s a day for us to get together,” she said.

“As a social work community we try to get together and see each other.”

This article appeared in News Mail, Bundaberg - Geordi Offord

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers