November 20, 2017
The old Palliative Care Unit was officially re-opened at Kingaroy’s Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Private Hospital on Monday.
The facility has been much requested since the new operators took over the hospital last year.
Director of Clinical Services Michael Bishop said at every community meeting he had attended, people had asked him when the Palliative Care Unit would be re-opened.
A lot of community fundraising went into establishing the previous Palliative Care Unit at the private hospital but by the time the hospital closed it was no longer operating.
“Some of the service clubs had donated a lot of money and (it felt like) that money had disappeared,” Michael said.
However, Mr Bishop said re-opening the unit was not simple, requiring a licence from Queensland Health, asking local GPs to come up with a 24-hour care model, negotiating with private health funds, locating specialist nursing staff and finding volunteers to help.
Former Nanango Uniting Church minister Sue Algate was one of the first volunteers to come on board.
She said she had a long interest in palliative care.
This process all took about five months.
The three rooms from the former Palliative Care Unit were re-opened and “freshened up”, however Mr Bishop now has plans to re-decorate them into three themes, ie the Forest Room, Dandelion Room, and Rainbow Room (which would have an Indigenous motif).
The three rooms share a kitchenette which families can use.
South Bank Day Hospital Executive Director Prof Mark Radford, who officially re-opened the unit, said people have a right to be looked after in their community … and that included when they were leaving.
He referred to his “Aunty Nell”, ie. surgeon Dr Ellen Mary Kent Hughes, a former Kingaroy Shire Councillor and the first woman in Local Government in Queensland.
“Palliative care was one of her keen interests; 80 years later it’s nice to keep that family tradition going,” he said.
Prof Radford also hinted at a possible maternity service at the private hospital one day.
“This is one step. It would be wonderful if a few years down the track if we did the front end step, too,” he said.