Tweed Palliative Support Inc.

Jen TurnerAged Services, Case Study, Health & Wellbeing, Impact, News

NRCF GRANT: $14,730 – Medical Equipment for Community Palliative Care in the Northern Rivers

Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice is the only provider of free medical equipment to palliative care patients in the Tweed region. They received funding from the NRCF to purchase a king single hospital bed with a special mattress for clients who need pressure care. The urgently needed medical equipment included Portable Oxygen Concentrators and Pressure Mattresses that will provide comfort and support during end-for-life care.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. Palliative care is a crucial part of integrated, people-centred health services, at all levels ofcare: it aims to relieve suffering, whether its cause is cancer, major organ failure, drug-resistant tuberculosis, end-stage chronic illness, extreme birth prematurity or extreme frailty of old age.

Worldwide, only about 14% of people who need palliative care currently receive it (source: World Health Organisation). The quality of life of patients and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual are greatly improved by palliative care. 73,900 palliative care-related hospitalisations were reported from public acute and private hospitals in Australia in 2015–16.137 public acute hospitals reported that they had a hospice care unit in2015–16, and about a third (32.8%) were located in New South Wales.

We spoke to Gillian Cooper Volunteer Consultant and Lifetime Member to tell us more about what the funding has meant for the organization.

“We received the funding for medical equipment and then purchased three portable oxygen concentrators and one king single pressure mattress.  These items are being used both in the community and at our Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice. All of these items allow for greater quality of life.  The oxygen concentrators allow people to move around more freely while maintaining their oxygenation and the pressure mattress helps to make sure people’s skin integrity is maintained.”

“The portable oxygen concentrators have helped us to go from strength to strength in supporting our clients both in the community and at Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice. The pressure mattress, used mostly at our Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice, ensures that there are no further problems for our guests with painful skin breakdown due to being in bed for prolonged periods.”

Portable oxygen concentrators were purchased each costing $4445. One king single pressure mattress was also purchased costing $1395. 

Gillian ended: “People’s life at the end is vastly improved by this equipment. Without the grant we received we would have had to scrape around an awful lot to find that kind of money. We do have nurses which we pay, who take the money we earn from op shops and community activities. Whilst we have vollies, we rely solely on grants.Without NRCF’s help people at the end of their life would be far less comfortable.”

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