A moment with 2019 Westfield Geelong Local Hero, Tessa Davis
Tessa, nursing with love, quality and respect
Spend a minute with Tessa Davis, and it’s hard not to catch her smile. Her enthusiasm is contagious, especially when talking about Anam Cara House. Tessa is a dedicated nurse who runs the day hospice centre in Geelong, in addition to a weekly satellite hospice based in Norlane. The hospice centres give 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 hospices 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.
Winning one of the $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grants meant means that Tessa’s dream of setting up a second satellite day hospice in East Geelong is became one step closer. Whilst the restrictions from COVD-19 have pressed pause on the day programs for parts of this year, Tessa continues to find a way through. Undeterred, she is still doing home visits, where possible and wearing her trusty face mask. Recently, Tessa caught up with a former pilot, now in her late eighties and spent the afternoon trading inspiring stories.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make all the difference. During our catch up, Tessa shared how she’d sent a rusty wheelbarrow to a regular guest, Bruce who loves to garden. Bruce gave it a new lease on life, painting it purple and green (purple is Tessa’s favourite colour) and turning it into a portable garden bed. Bruce shared that it was ‘his saving grace’ during a time where he needed a project to focus his energy on.
When thinking ahead, Tessa hopes to increase the capacity of each hospice program, so that more guests and their loved ones can be supported. She also hopes to collaborate with the health studies department at Deakin University, working to improve the quality and approach to end of life care.
Tessa’s dedication to her guests is inspiring. Her nursing style of ‘love, quality and respect’ has touched so many lives and will continue to bring hope and comfort to many more. But the true character of this woman can be summed up in her own words, when describing her time with her guests; ‘I get so much more than I give.’
Find out more about Anam Cara House >
If you, or someone you know has a life limiting illness and wish to talk to the team, contact Anam Cara on 03) 5222 5831 and leave your name and number on the message bank, Tessa and her team will get back to you.
The Westfield Local Heroes program is back for 2020. Your community has nominated, and voting is now open. With three $10,000 grants available to support important work in your community, don’t miss your chance to support the Local Heroes in your area. Give back to those who give so much to others, vote now here.