Buying into the community when it was owned by a previous independent living operator, Noel says he was grateful when Seasons took over as it gave his mother access to care, right up to palliative level.
“We had looked around and we stumbled upon where Seasons Kallangur is now – it was then an independent living community. Twelve months later we were notified that Seasons was buying in,” says Noel.
“From a family point of view we fell on our feet because it meant Seasons were able to offer all the extra care that Mum wouldn’t have got in independent living.”
Noel says this support became important about five years ago when Eileen started to become less independent and her health started to influence the way that she lived.
“Mum started to be more housebound so we started to monitor her and when she got sick it became obvious she needed ongoing care and we had to sit down and work out how we were going to handle it.
“The people at Seasons at the time were very, very good as I was able to sit down and say to them ‘help, I have no idea’. They suggested that what Mum needed to do first up is have an ACAT Assessment and we would go from there.
“Mum had an assessment and we started off with a Level 2 package. Mum’s care started to increase and speaking once more to the coordinators and going through the red tape, Mum went up to a Level 3 and finally a Level 4.”
Noel says that once Eileen got to a Level 4 package through Seasons’ care partner Envigor she was getting a lot of support and this was always tailored to her increasing care needs.
“With the Level 4 package we had a situation that was magnificent. She was getting basically full hospital-type coverage.
“She became very wonky on her feet, so I was able to arrange for someone to be with her every time she moved. So, when Mum went down to lunch there was a carer who came down and helped get her to lunch. The reason for that was twofold – one was to make sure she got there safely and two was to make sure she ate her lunch.”
As Eileen’s health was declining she did have hospital stays where Noel says the medical staff told him that she couldn’t go back to Seasons.
“When she did have the occasional fall and she ended up going to hospital for a check we found that the hospital wasn’t all that aware of what Seasons could offer.
“We had to argue that we wanted Mum to go back to Seasons and not find a nursing home as Mum was already getting that care from Seasons.
“We found that the family really did need to do their homework and find out how things work and what’s expected of them so they can be proactive.”
After another hospital visit in Eileen’s final weeks, Noel says the family fought to grant Eileen her wish to pass away in her own home.
“We just said to them straight off, we want Mum to go home. The thing we’re left with as a family is when the last days came Mum was in her own home, she was in her own bed, the carers that were coming in to look after her knew her and cared for her.
“Every time we went over the place was spotless. The cleaners had done their job. Mum was always so clean with her hair done and presented in lovely fresh clothes, the washing was always done for her. She even had nail polish on her fingers for the first time in her life, that we know of.
“As a family, we felt we were consoling the Seasons and Envigor staff, they were so emotionally involved in Mum’s care and that’s a wonderful memory to be left with from a family’s point of view. You couldn’t wish for more.”