New hospice will grant thousands of dying wishes
AFTER watching palliative patients die in emergency rooms, Hervey Bay nurse Jasine Leslie decided to do something about it.
By reaching out to other medical and community-minded people, Mrs Leslie founded the Hervey Bay Hospice Association.
Now, just over a year later, funding and land has been secured for Hervey Bay's first hospice facility.
Mrs Leslie said the new facility would help in tragic times.
"It is quite a horrible issue to have people dying in emergency and not able to be in a private room in the hospital at that time in their lives," Mrs Leslie said.
"I saw a great need for someone at the end of life to have somewhere to go if they were not able to be cared for at home."
The group, made up of eight volunteers, received a $7 million grant from the Federal Government for the building and to operate the facility for three years.
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the facility was something he had supported for more than six years.
"This is something the community has been asking for," he said.
This is the first project funded under the Hinkler Regional Deal model that the council and Federal Government has signed.
Fraser Coast Regional Council has donated the use of a block on Urraween Rd for the facility.
Mrs Leslie said the space was not only in a great location but also allowed room for growth.
"Now we have the land, we will be able to see things moving along a lot quicker," she said.
"Because of this large block we aren't land-locked so we have space to expand into another wing in the future as our population grows."
The new facility, which will have six beds, is expected to be open by July 2021.
It will have the capacity to care for about 1300 patients a year.
Mrs Leslie said 80 per cent of Australians wanted to die at home but only 16 per cent were able to achieve this.
"Currently there is nowhere for people to go (on the Fraser Coast) so people are going to nursing homes or into a hospital setting," she said.
Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said the hospice would be a great addition to the hospital and health care system on the Fraser Coast.
"It is lovely to care for people in the last days of their lives in a domestic setting," he said.
"They can have a special time, be at peace with their family and their last memories can be shared somewhere that's not in a corridor of an emergency room or a hospital setting with beeps and fluorescent lighting."