Need for dedicated palliative care beds

Wednesday September 01, 2021

Media Release published by The Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell

Independent Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell is calling for an expansion of end-of-life options for people in the Limestone Coast.

The MP said the Limestone Coast Local Health Network Board should be investigating the establishment of a dedicated palliative care unit at Mount Gambier Hospital, the central hospital for the region.

“People deserve to have a choice about how they spend their final months and weeks,” he said.

“For those requiring significant medical assistance, the best option may be in the care of medical professionals in hospital and there should be a dedicated facility for this purpose.

“A space with garden views where family and friends can feel comfortable visiting and beloved pets can make visits, with the best specialist medical care close by.”

Mr Bell said the dissolution of Mount Gambier’s Private Hospital could open the door for the reallocation of private beds into such a space.

“There is an opportunity here, with the restructure of the private facility to see how we can best make use of those existing resources,” he said.

“In busy hospitals, palliative care beds are often brought into use for other purposes, leading to situations where end-of-life patients may be accommodated in other wards, which may not serve their needs or be fit for purpose.”

Mr Bell said he would be raising the issue with Minister for Health Stephen Wade as he visits the region on Wednesday.

“Wellbeing and quality of life are essential when it comes to end-of-life care,” he said.

“The last thing people need at the final stages of a serious illness is to worry about how they will be looked after in their final months or weeks.

“They deserve a choice of environments and supports with a smooth transition process when this time comes. For some, this may be a home environment and for others, they will feel more comfortable in a hospital or unit dedicated to the purpose of end-of-life care. “It’s a topic none of us want to think about yet it’s something we will all have to consider.

“There is much more attention and focus on end-of life care in our state and we must be ready to accommodate the needs of our population.

“A city the size of Mount Gambier deserves dedicated palliative care beds located within our hospital."