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Palliative care, the (un)usual kind of care

When I graduated from nursing school back in 1993 in the Netherlands my exam topic was palliative care. Never did I expect back then that my career would land me in palliative care in the hospice setting of Sint Martin’s Home at 2020. After working for 25 years in different settings of healthcare on Sint Maarten, my curiosity and urge to always advance myself brought me back to the Netherlands in 2018 for 2 years.

I attended the Erasmus University in Rotterdam to study for palliative care nurse. After I attended the classes about various subjects related to palliative and terminally ill care, I got to practice what was taught to me at a palliative unit I worked during my stay in the Netherlands, the Zorgherberg Oostpoort in Amsterdam. The theory received during my study, combined with working at this palliative unit with skilled colleagues, brought me an enormous amount of knowledge. I was able to finish my study and obtain my diploma in March of this year.

As Sint Maarten has been my home for 25 years, it was not difficult to decide to come back. Knowing that the White and Yellow Cross Care foundation opened a hospice made it also interesting to come back to the island. Recently I have been hired at the Sint Martin’s Home hospice unit and will share my knowledge with the nurses of the foundation. Furthermore, I will apply what I have learned in practice by taking care of palliative clients and professionalize the care by having the necessary guidelines and protocols in place.

The near future will also hold the development of palliative care within the home setting, where if someone prefers to stay home at the last stage of life, they will receive proper guidance and care. The district nursing team of the WYYCF will be trained and skilled to provide this specialized kind of care.

In palliative care, the goal is to prevent or treat symptoms by early observations and adequate response to problems described by the client. Some symptoms are not 100 % preventable or treatable however, we will make sure the client is as comfortable as possible in their situation. This kind of care requires an interdisciplinary team approach; therefore we work together with other healthcare professionals to be able to provide quality of life. There is no end in caring, therefore when it is time to round off our earthly journey it is wished for everyone to do this in a way that the last days spent, are spent with quality of life. Ilse Carter-Snijder Palliative Care Nurse




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