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Newly renovated Palliative Care Unit provides tranquil space for patients and their families

Mother of three Sofia Zafar Aliyar was a patient at Peninsula Health’s Palliative Care Unit.

“She had cancer but we couldn’t do treatment anymore,” explains her husband Said.

“It started as breast cancer three years ago. Then she went into remission but it came back a year later and now she has a tumour in her brain, which affects her speech.”

“We tried everything but the oncologist at Frankston Hospital said there was nothing else we could do, so we came to the Palliative Care Unit.”

Sofia spent some time in Peninsula Health’s Palliative Care Unit, which has recently undergone a significant refurbishment.

“When we first arrived the paint was more than 17 years old,” recalls Said.

“Someone used to come with a big machine to clean the carpet and it made a very bad sound, it was too noisy.”

Patients were moved into another building for two weeks while the renovations took place.

“When we came back it was all brand new – they had painted, cleaned up the windows, changed the carpet and put in new timber floors.”

“I told my wife how everything is now new and clean and that made her happy.”

Said and his wife are originally from Afghanistan and came to Australia in 1995.

Every night he and his daughter would take turns in staying the night at the Palliative Care Unit with Sofia.

“The care has been fantastic, I deeply appreciate the nurses. They did not mind that we stayed the night – instead they would ask if we wanted tea, coffee or cookies. They’re very helpful,” says Said, a former Year 11 and 12 school teacher in his home country, who now teaches at the Victorian School of Language.

“They are also very, very kind. They would talk to my wife not like she was their patient, but like she was their sister. They would come in laughing and smiling and she could understand that and laugh with them.”

Dr Sandeep Bhagat, Head of Palliative Care says the refurbishment makes a big difference to patients like Sofia and their families.

“Palliative care is all about providing quality of life,” says Dr Bhagat.

“The renovations have just done that by providing pleasant surroundings.”


The newly refurbished Palliative Care Unit

National Palliative Care Week

  • 20-26 May is National Palliative Care Week.
  • Everyone’s priorities at the end of life will be slightly different. People are encouraged to talk to their families about what matters most to them.
  • One way you can make your wishes count is to make an Advance Care Plan.
  • Peninsula Health offers a free Advance Care Plan service, which you can access more information about online here.