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Peninsula Health’s new Head of Palliative Care

Head of Palliative Care Sandeep Bhagat“Hold their hand, relieve their pain, and make them feel loved again”

Peninsula Health’s new Head of Unit for Palliative Care is Dr Sandeep Bhagat

It is an area of healthcare that is difficult for many to talk about or even consider, let alone working in. That’s not the case for Dr Sandeep Bhagat.

“When I had my first exposure to Palliative Care, that’s where I found the meaning of being a doctor is more than just doing stitches or doing tests. It’s actually sitting with people and having the honour to hear first-hand stories, hold their hand, relieve their pain, and make them feel loved again.”

“I think all these basic human values attracted me to this speciality.”

Dr Bhagat took up the position at Golf Links Road (GLR) in April and already places a high value on the team who care for members of the local community nearing the end of their days.

“We have over 100 years of experience so we’ve got very experienced senior nurses. It is a small team, close knit so we sit together, we hand over better, we support each other better, and I think we can come back in the tea room together and de-brief each other and that is the spirit and strong ethos of this unit.”

Leading the team, Dr Bhagat espouses a positive attitude to the role that he and his fellow nurses and doctors can play in patient’s and family’s lives.

“Palliative care most people relate to dying, whereas I relate it to life, quality of life, whatever remaining life that is,” says Dr Bhagat.

“So we don’t focus on that, so that is my way of separating it from the sad part of dying which most people would say death is very sad. I see before death there is a big phase which is their completion of exploring their spirituality, trying to bring a meaning to them and their family.”

“The other way of looking at it as far as my own coping is the patient never dies; they are now living in the memories of their loved one,” adds Dr Bhagat. “If I can leave families with a better experience in their bereavement, and they have watched their loved one dying in peace and dignity, that is how we get the compliments and thanks, and that is what drives you to keep doing what you’re doing every day.”

For more information about Peninsula Health’s Palliative Care Service, please call 9784 7232

Living, Dying & Grieving Well: A guide to palliative care