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Recliner chairs help move RPA's palliative care patients outdoors in comfort

Special chairs bring patients comfort

June 2019

Recliner chairs help move RPA's palliative care patients outdoors in comfort

Recliner chairs help move RPA's palliative care patients outdoors in comfort

Leanne Le Coic calls them angels.

“The nurses who looked after Chris when he was in RPA’s palliative care ward showed what angels on earth looked like. They went above and beyond in every way,” she said.

Chris and Leanne met in 2002, when Chris was heading his own HR recruitment firm in Sydney and Leanne was investigating her next career move.

“We found each other later in life. We had a very strong connection,” she said of her husband. “I fell in love with his heart, his integrity… and his blue eyes. He was the kindest person I’d ever met.”

Two years later, Chris was diagnosed with cancer and underwent radiation therapy. It was a disease he would tackle for more than 10 years. The cancer returned in late 2013 and he had multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

And, on their immediate return from a four-week round-the-world trip in December 2014, Chris was taken to RPA. He was later admitted to the palliative care ward.

During his time in hospital, Leanne donated an Airvo humidifier machine to the palliative care ward. It made it a little easier for patients - including Chris - to breathe.

“His body was exhausted. But, his mind was still fighting,” she said. He died on 28th January 2015.

“When Chris died, I desperately wanted to do something else for the ward. Because the nurses were extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary,” Leanne said.

“I was incredibly grateful for all the acts of kindness and compassion. I couldn’t thank them enough. That stays with you forever. It never goes away.”

Last year, Leanne, and her husband’s former business partner, Paul Breslin, donated $15 000 to the palliative care ward.

And, after consultation with the ward’s nursing team, the money has been used to buy three special patient chairs.

The Australian designed and manufactured recliner chairs have adjustable seats, arm and leg rests and are operated with dual hand controls - one for the patient and the nurse.

It will allow patients, who have been restricted to bed, to be easily wheeled outside in comfort - which makes Leanne happy.

“When a patient is in a hospital bed for weeks on end, it makes such a difference to them when they’re able to be taken outside.

“The impact of a patient feeling a breeze or the warmth of the sun on their face can’t be over-estimated. It brings them some normality,” she said.

The ward’s Nursing Unit Manager Jyoti Thata said the chairs will have lots of benefits for nurses, patients and their families.

“It’s such an important piece of equipment. It will allow nurses to provide patients who are often lying in a hospital bed for long periods of time the opportunity to be able to sit-up in comfortable chair.

“Not only will we be able to easily wheel patients outside to a grassy area but we could also take them to an in-house coffee shop or to listen to the piano being played in the hospital.

“It’ll give patients a lift - mentally and emotionally. It puts a smile on their faces,” she said.

Sydney Local Health District chief executive Teresa Anderson AM joined clinicians, nurses and support staff to thank Leanne for the generous donation at a special morning tea.

“It is such a thoughtful gift. These beautiful chairs are comfortable. I’ve sat in them.

“Having these chairs, and this facility, means our patients and their families have a much more comfortable environment. It’s an environment that allows them to have a positive and dignified experience which makes such a difference.

“We are enormously grateful,” Dr Anderson said.

Leanne told the gathering she was full of gratitude for care Chris received.

“When I thought about how on earth I could put into words the care that you all gave Chris… it’s so hard.

“Being able to be with him and to help care for him with you was such a privilege. You just can’t put into words how grateful we are. I know he’s standing here with me and I know he would agree. It’s absolutely priceless,” she said.

To view more images of the occasion, please click here

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