Tessa Davis: Anam Cara House Geelong: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Giving carers a break at home-like day hospice
Compassionate. Caring. Giving
Nurse Tessa Davis is known for her big heart and her empathetic care of people with life-limiting illnesses.
She runs the day hospice program at Anam Cara House in Geelong, which gives carers a well-earned break for a few hours while their loved ones are well looked after by a team of trained palliative care volunteers.
People at the hospice are treated as guests and encouraged to engage socially with others in a similar situation. Guests can also choose to live out their final days in home-like comfort at the house.
The aim is to have one volunteer for each guest so everyone receives individualised care.
Tessa and the team are always on the lookout for beautiful little things that make a difference. “We had one lady who loved gin and tonic, and we encouraged her to enjoy a drink for as long as she wanted,” says Tessa.
She feels privileged to be voted a Westfield Local Hero and is happy it will increase Anam Cara House’s recognition in the community.
“It’s really important to let people know about our hospice and that it’s a happy, supportive and safe place.”
One of Tessa’s outstanding contributions is a satellite hospice in the northern suburb of Norlane, which she helped start because she was concerned some people couldn’t afford to travel to Geelong to visit Anam Cara House.
Every Wednesday, she heads off for the satellite program in a minibus, picking up guests along the way.
Now Anam Cara House plans to develop a second satellite day program south-east of the city of Geelong.
“Our guests enjoy person-centred care,” says Tessa. “I firmly believe all people have a right to good nursing.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
Anam Cara House will use its grant to bring Tessa’s dream of a second satellite program to fruition.
“My wish is that we have many more hospices like this in our country. We don’t have a lot of hospices that offer home-like care,” she says.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.