The long awaited palliative care trial for Orange has been approved with Uniting announced as the successful tender.
The Western NSW Local Health District will partner with Uniting Parkwood, based in Prince Street, for the 12-month trial to provide end-of-life care at a four-bed facility.
Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless announced the successful tender on Thursday and said the decision was made by a panel that included community representation and the cost of the successful tender would remain commercial in confidence.
“There will be four beds made available there for this trial process and these four rooms are four of 20 at that facility,” Mr Colless said.
It will give them a place where they can live out their days in comfort in a pleasant surroundings, there’s good access for families to come and stay overnight if they need to, there’s cooking facilities if they want to cook a meal there.Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless
“Patients will be admitted to these beds through the Orange Health Service and the level of clinical care they receive will be of the same standard as they would receive in hospital.
“There will be a full refurbishment of those rooms to make them suitable for a palliative care purpose and the government will be picking up the cost of operating that for the next 12 months.
“As we go forward as it’s a trial it will be assessed in terms of the suitability from the patients and their families that are in there and also from the cost perspective and the outcome.”
Mr Colless said there was a lot of community consultation in the process and four beds was the agreed number on a trial basis to test the occupancy demand.
MAP: Uniting Parkwood in Prince Street won the tender to provide palliative care in Orange ….
“There was a number of factors they took into consideration, cost was one of them but also the type of facility,” Mr Colless said.
“Uniting has agreed to refurbish the rooms at their expense, the health department will be putting some equipment in there at their expense and that will be contracted to uniting care for a 12-month period.
“It will give them a place where they can live out their days in comfort in a pleasant surroundings, there’s good access for families to come and stay overnight.
“It will be a much more friendlier environment, more like a home-like environment rather than a hospital environment so I think they will be very comfortable there.
“They will have full medical facilities available to them and I’m sure that it will be a great asset to them.”
Push for Palliative Jenny Hazelton said the selection of a palliative care provider is a major win for the Orange community.
“At last we have traction, at last we have those beds we’ve been pursing for the last three-and-a-half years,” Mrs Hazelton said.
“We didn’t know until today who it was but we are very happy about Wontama, Uniting because they have a long-standing reputation in our community of providing best practice.
Perhaps the community will think it did take a little bit longer than we wanted it to but that was because we needed it to be so thorough.Western NSW Local Health District executive director Richard Cheney
“Our job isn’t over, and our job will be to make sure that we discuss and consult with Uniting Care and the LHD continually about what the community tells us about what they need in our community so we are relieved, happy, and lets bring it on and bring it on soon please because it’s been long over due.
“I would like to thank Phil Donato, we would as Orange Push for Palliative because he has been a very very strong advocate for us because he has been going places that we could not go.”
Uniting Wontama and Parkwood service manager Helen Mobbs said the organisation is ready to provide the round-the-clock service to the clients and patients in Orange and said it is a high priority.
“That includes the provision of a registered nurse 24/7 as well as staff,” Mrs Mobbs said.
“Currently we are already renovating rooms at Parkwood to make sure that it is more contemporary and certainly can facilitate any age and make it very comfortable for both the patients that will come in as well as their families.”
Western NSW Local Health District executive director Richard Cheney said it was an extremely competitive tender process.
“Perhaps the community will think it did take a little bit longer than we wanted it to but that was because we needed it to be so thorough,” Mr Cheney said.
“We were looking at clinical care, we were looking at home-like care and that had to be done in a quality environment equivalent to the hospital and most importantly we needed that to be probably at a location outside the hospital.
“We’re very committed to this being an ongoing service to the people of Orange.
“This is completely government funded, there is no cost so anyone at the vulnerable stage of life will get this service paid for through Western NSW LHD.
Mr Cheney said an independent group will evaluate the outcome of the trial and whether there is enough beds.
“I can’t imagine that the service won’t be well utilised by what we’ve been hearing from the community, the stories we’ve been hearing,” he said.
He said the beds at Uniting Parkwood are part of Orange Health Service and GPs will liaise with the health service to determine where that person is best situated.
“We will still try and manage people at home if that’s an option,” Mr Cheney said.
It’s great news for Orange, it’s great news for the people of our community and the voices that they have spoken and that the government has brought to the table.Member for Orange Phil Donato
Phil Donato tabled a petition of 10,000 signatures in parliament calling for a dedicated palliative service and said finding a palliative care provider was a “win for the people of Orange”.
“This has been an issue that we’ve been pursuing in our town for many many years,” Mr Donato said.
“Full credit must go to the Push for Palliative team, Jenny Hazelton, Tracy Wilkinson who have been so diligent advocates on behalf of palliative care in the Orange area for so many years now.
“It’s great news for Orange, it’s great news for the people of our community and the voices that they have spoken and that the government has brought to the table.
“It’s a pity though its taken so long, it’s a pity its taken many many years to get to this stage.
“I know of personal cases of people who have passed away in less than dignified ways because there wasn’t a dedicated palliative care service and that is truly truly sad but hopefully now with this new facility up and running four beds on a 12-month trial lets hope it makes a massive difference to our community and lets hope it continues beyond a 12-month trial.”
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