Northern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive Wayne Jones said the refurbishments at Ballina District Hospital and Murwillumbah District Hospital will help bring comfort to people at the end of life, along with their families and carers.
“At Ballina District Hospital, existing palliative care rooms will be enhanced, and kitchenettes created to improve the experience for patients and families,” Mr Jones said.
“Refurbishments will also provide access to an outdoor area, which will allow patients, especially bed-bound patients, to spend time in the fresh air. Upgrades will also allow family and friends to stay for extended periods.”
“At Murwillumbah, a new palliative care room will be created to accommodate patients and their family members in a home-like, tranquil environment. This will increase patient dignity and provide better space for family and friends to be with their loved ones.”
These facilities are among 34 palliative care facilities across NSW to be refurbished over the next two years, at a total of $5.5 million. Ballina will receive $123,400, and Murwillumbah will receive $109,900.
“These projects help bring dignity and comfort to patients, families and carers,” Mr Jones said.
“Ensuring that patients, their families and carers receive quality palliative care in a safe, comfortable and home-like environment is a priority for NSW Health.”
Every year, the NSW Government spends more than $220 million on palliative care services across the State. In addition to this funding, in 2020-21 a further $16 million of enhancement funding was spent to improve services, including a boost of $7.17 million for 35 allied health workers and 20 palliative care nurses across NSW.
The latest round of funding follows the success of $4.5 million allocated for refurbishments in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Both funding rounds were part of a $45 million enhancement for palliative care announced in the 2019-20 NSW Budget.
“From completed palliative care refurbishment sites, we know that the homely furnishings and enhancements have contributed to a more patient-focussed and family-friendly experience,” Mr Jones said.
This enhancement and a further $56 million announced in late 2020 support an additional 5,000 End of Life home support packages available across NSW from 1 July 2021; the recruitment of 100 new palliative care nurses; more Aboriginal Health Workers; digital health to improve access to palliative care; enhanced bereavement services; and education to ensure a strong, competent workforce. This is in addition
to the $100 million palliative care package announced in the 2017-18 Budget.