During National Palliative Care Week we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rebecca Strutt to learn more about palliative care and the importance of raising awareness for the work that the palliative care unit does.
POWHF: What’s your name and your role at the Prince of Wales Hospital?
Dr. Rebecca Strutt: My name’s Rebecca’s Strutt. I’m a staff specialist in palliative medicine, and I’m head of department. I worked at Prince of Wales as a Junior Staff Specialist, seeing patients in the community between 1999 and 2008. And I got persuaded to go to Liverpool hospital by a colleague of mine. And I worked there for 15 years because I ended up coming back to locum and I was drawn back to working at Prince of Wales because I could see there was a need to try and enhance palliative care services at Prince of Wales.
POWHF: What’s a memory that has stayed with you during your time here at POWH?
Dr. Rebecca Strutt: I think the most rewarding times in palliative care are usually looking after people at home. Those people who want to do it, they’ve got very difficult symptoms or if they just lack the social support that’s needed. But some of them, some of them are quite poignant and to a degree sad.
But there is a great deal of joy in managing people at home if that is where they want to be. We’re all going to die, essentially. And, you know, we live in a society now that almost, you know, death is in the background.
POWHF: Why is raising awareness about palliative care important?
Dr. Rebecca Strutt: We’re not really thinking about it. We know that we are likely to live to the seventies or eighties, but we’re all going to die.
And it’s very important that we know that there is help there if we should need it. And I mean, 100 years ago, people died. They were put out in the in the parlour. People came to see them. Now we’ve completely changed. You know, most people have never seen a dead body and we grew out of that. But it’s a universal fact.
Some of us die peacefully without much intervention. Other people may need a great deal of help. We’re not going to just go in and talk about dying. I’m going to try and break the ice with people so it’s lovely to work in an environment where you are just included and you know, part of cancer services. Were just one aspect of cancer services.