Carers in the Grampians

The Carers in the Grampians project reveals the experiences of ten people caring for family members who were receiving palliative care. Talking openly about their parents, partners, siblings and children, the participants discuss what it’s like to hear that there is nothing more the medical community can do, and the impact that had on their family member in palliative care, and on themselves. They reveal some of the joys as well as some of the challenges of caring for their family members, and what it was like for them dealing with grief. They share the benefits and difficulties of looking after their family members at home, and acknowledge how the experience has changed them. The palliative care services who supported the participants in this project include Central Grampians Palliative Care, Ballarat Hospice Care Inc., Wimmera Hospice Care and Djerriwarrh Health Services.

The ten carers interviewed for the project live in regional towns such as Ararat, Horsham, St Arnaud and Ballarat, and others live on farms within the region. All participants in the project cared for family members who died prior to, or during, their engagement with the project. The familial relationships included children, siblings, partners and parents. All but one of the family members in this project died in their home, and all but one were heavily supported by their local palliative care team at the end of their lives. There was a lack of regionally specific stories of carers of patients in palliative care. Specific issues such as isolation and distance from official support services, and a stronger local community mean that friends, neighbours and family often step into the gap. This project is designed to offer contextual support to reduce isolation of the carers by providing personal and honest accounts from carers in the same situation and region. The project has the capacity to reduce carers’ feelings of isolation and therefore reduce bereavement risk. The project will ensure that people know how to access local supports, and will build capacity in our local communities. The visual tools will provide a reference point for those embarking on a carer role in the future. And finally it links the Grampians region to state-wide projects such as The Dreamers, The Two of Us, and Palliative Care Stories 2016, also produced by digital storyteller Pippa Wischer.

Click the below sample pages to enlarge.