Derek Welsh's family dream of a palliative care facility where families can stay together
Derek Welsh’s two year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, came to an end in 2019. He spent his final weeks at Concord Centre for Palliative Care where his family said their final goodbye’s to the 35 year old father.
Derek’s wife Natasha wanted to spend as much time with her husband in his final weeks as possible, but this meant choosing between him or being home to provide comfort and reassurance to their four-year-old son who was unable to stay for extended visits or overnight.
Since his passing, Derek’s family created ‘Derek’s Place’ and their dream to provide a facility where families with younger children can be together, when one parent is at the end of their life.
“Our vision is to create a palliative care facility that truly accommodates families with young children who are losing a loved one to terminal illness, to be able to spend time together comfortably in a loving and home-like environment,” Natasha said.
Derek’s family chose to mark the first anniversary of his death by returning to Concord Hospital to plant a camellia in the Sun Garden behind the Concord Centre for Palliative Care, in memory of the landscape gardener.
Natasha and her son Cristian were joined by Derek’s parents and extended family and Palliative Care staff specialist Dr Dipti Mittal and head of department Associate Professor Ghauri Aggarwal.
“Young patients, with brain cancers in particular, do not have longer term care options as they are not suitable to be placed in a Residential Aged Care Facility. Their care needs require significant nursing care and some medical attention,” Associate Professor Aggarwal said.
“Derek’s family have been proactive in championing this cause. The option of patient/family suites and a day centre with space for families with younger children to spend time together at the end of life is something the Concord Centre for Palliative Care would love to make a reality.”