A new palliative care ward is to be built at Orange Hospital, following a trial at Uniting Parkwood, an aged care facility operated by Uniting Residential Care.
The trial was considered successful in terms of the service offered to palliative care patients, however the costs associated with running the small ward were judged as being unsustainable.
"It was a comforting, warm, professional environment, and we want to thank Uniting Parkwood for leading the way and showing us how things can be done," said Jenny Hazelton from Orange Push for Palliative, a community group advocating for better palliative care services.
"But we had to take the feedback that it was an incredibly costly model to deliver, and given that's the case we needed to look further, which we've done."
Mark Spittal from Western NSW Local Heath District said a palliative care suite would be built on the ground floor of the hospital. There will be two beds and "surge capacity" for two more if required.
"It gives us the ability to make sure there is great access to gardens and private spaces, and good access for family and carers, who won't have to traipse through a hospital ward to spend time with their loved ones."
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Mr Spittal said that "any of us who have had a loved one die, being able to do that in a really good, comfortable environment, with high quality clinical care and good social support, and the right ambiance, makes all the difference."
State MP Phil Donato has been on a consultative committee for better palliative care services in Orange since before he was elected in 2016.
"Jenny and her team came to me with a petition [signed by] 10,000 people here in Orange calling for improved palliative care services. I've been pushing for it ever since."
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Mr Donato said the trial at Uniting Parkwood has "been very well received by the community. I'm frequently contacted by members of the community who have had loved ones in that facility, and the level of accolade and praise for the staff and the facility has been truly overwhelming".
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