Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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What Matters Most: Empathy, community and inspired care in the Tweed

From the original article Tweed's passion for palliative care by Aisling Brennan in the Tweed Daily News

Wedgetail Retreat Hospice holds a special place in the hearts of many in the community, particularly those whose loved ones have spent their final moments at the Dulguigan facility receiving much-needed care.

Tweed Palliative Support opened the doors of its hospice to the community on Thursday as part of Palliative Care Week.

TPS president Meredith Dennis said it was a good opportunity for people to learn more about the role of the community-funded Wedgetail Retreat, which opened three years ago, in making a family more comfortable when caring for a sick loved one.

"It was lovely to see people visiting the hospice,” Ms Dennis said.

"A lot of people have been touched by cancer and have members of their family who have passed away.

"Since we've been open, we've cared for hundreds of guests at Wedgetail and have had thousands of families stay with us.

"They've got a real connection with us.

"The hospice is owned by the community.”

While the hospice receives minimal government funding, it relies heavily on community donations to provide the much-needed care to its patients.

"We don't waste money. The only people in our organisation paid are our nurses, everyone else works for free,” Ms Dennis said.

"We train 20 volunteers a year, it's a nine-week course.

"Those volunteers will be able to go out into the community and support our clients. We're very lucky.

"A lot of the volunteers have either been nurses or cared for someone, and you need that real empathy.”

Northern NSW Local Health District end of life care project officer Anna Law said it was important people considered what type of care they'd prefer when nearing the end of their life.

"By having the conversation with their loved ones and health professionals, people can ensure their treatment and care best aligns with their values and preferences regarding both the type and place of care and place of death,” she said.

"Knowing what is important to you will reduce their burden at a difficult time and ensure you get the care you desire.”

Pic: MacKenzie Sweeney (L), Rhonda Tillott and TPS president Meredith Dennis (Pic credit Richard Mamando).

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