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Palliative Care Services expanding on Yorke Peninsula

Melissa Smith

Death and dying – not a popular topic at the best of times, but when faced with the inevitable, limited access to specialised palliative care services and facilities close to home, can be an added hurdle for Regional South Australians.

Palliative care is a specialised form of healthcare that focuses on improving the quality of life for people facing life-limiting illnesses and their families. The end-of-life care is a vital service that prioritises comfort and support when it’s needed the most. For those living in regional and rural areas, having access to services close to home is of paramount importance and for residents on the Yorke Peninsula, the development of palliative care services with new facilities at Maitland Hospital promises to bring just that.

New Facilities for Palliative Care at Maitland Hospital

The expansion of palliative care services will include the construction of a specialist palliative care room, equipped with a private bathroom and an outdoor courtyard. These additions will not only enhance the quality of care but also provide a comforting and peaceful environment for patients and their families. It’s a significant step towards ensuring people in regional areas receive the same level of support and comfort as those in metropolitan regions.

The construction project is expected to be completed by mid-2024, thanks to a joint effort from the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network (YNLHN), the Southern Yorke Health Advisory Council (SYHAC), and various community service clubs. Their collaboration highlights the importance of local communities and healthcare authorities coming together to support such a crucial initiative.

Country community spirit shines through yet again with organisations like Rotary, Apex, Friends of Maitland, and private donors who have contributed nearly $25,000 towards the project. The YNLHN has also played a significant role, providing $86,000 for the construction of the bathroom and internal fixtures. The project is testament to the power of collective efforts, demonstrating how local communities can rally behind essential healthcare initiatives.

The path to providing comprehensive palliative care services in the region doesn’t end with the construction of these new facilities. Fundraising efforts will persist over the coming months, with a particular focus on the outdoor courtyard area. This additional space will enhance the comfort and quality of care provided to patients at Maitland Hospital.

Sue Jackson, the Executive Officer of Yorke and Northern Local Health Network and the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Maitland Hospital, highlighted the significance of this initiative, saying, “This is an excellent example of how government and community can work together to contribute to support dignity-giving health care.” She also expressed her appreciation for the local community’s support, stating, “It is wonderful to see the local community rally around this important initiative.”

Palliative Care’s Growing Relevance

Palliative care is more relevant than ever, given the changing demographics in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the percentage of older Australians has almost doubled from 8.3% in 1970 to 16% in 2020. By 2066, it is projected that older Australians will make up 22% of the population. These statistics emphasise the growing need for palliative care services and the importance of initiatives like the one on Yorke Peninsula. With these new facilities, patients and their families will have access to quality care close to home, ensuring their experience is met with compassion, comfort, and dignity.


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