President’s Report 2018 / 2019

President’s Report 2018 / 2019

This year, 30 years of service was celebrated with a luncheon and acknowledgement of the wonderful assistance this organization has provided to the community. A tribute to all members, current and passed who have committed their time, efforts and heart into creating something unique and special. To those who recognized a need, acted on it and continue to work towards it, my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations. This community is a better place because of what you have done, are doing and will continue to do in the future.

Great Lakes Palliative Care Support continues to find a wide variety of ways to help Palliative Care and Oncology Patients in the Great Lakes and surrounding areas. We are able to supplement and enhance the care provided by our Community Palliative Care Team and local care facilities.

We continue to broker services to Midcoast Assist who provide housework, nursing and personal care as well as respite care as required. These services are provided to allow patients the ability to be cared for at home for as long as possible, support carers and supplement Aged Care Packages and are provided to patients living in the communities of Forster Tuncurry, Nabiac, Hallidays Point, Pacific Palms, Smiths Lake, Coomba Park and surrounding areas with occasional services provided to Bulahdelah, Tea Gardens and Gloucester patients on a needs basis. Over $15,000 has been spent on these services in the past 6 months alone.

We have continued to assist with the costs of medication, provision of aids and hiring of specialized equipment as required which has eased the burden of care on families and carers. Patients of the Community Palliative Care team have very limited access to Social Worker services and we continue to support Jane Bone to assist patients and families in this way, especially important to those folk in situations of financial hardship due to the impact of illness on their ability to work or trying to organize end of life care assistance. Cathy Brown, provides massage therapy to enhance the wellbeing of patients and also provides opportunities for stressed carers to get some much needed relief. A recent initiative introduced has been for massage vouchers to be available to Oncology patients. Jane Bone or the Oncology nurses recognize those struggling with their treatment regimens and provide a voucher for a massage to enhance self-care and Cathy attends a home visit when appropriate for the patient. This has proved very helpful to some of the younger women currently undergoing quite intense treatments who are often juggling work, family and dealing with the reality of their diagnosis.

We continue to meet monthly with representatives of Forster Private Hospital, Mid Coast Assist and the Community Palliative Care Team in order to enhance service provision and keep abreast of the needs of the community and how best we can be of assistance.

Earlier this year we were able to provide to FPH a mobile trolley which has been stocked with items for use for Palliative patients and their families and can be moved from room to room as the need arises. The trolley is stocked with items for mouth and skin care, music, aromatherapy, activity books and journals, colouring books and pencils and a rug that the family may keep. A Quiet Room was also set up and furnished, and is being used for family meetings, a place to go for privacy and time out and has made a huge difference to the care able to be provided by Jane Bone, the Social Worker. New improved scalp cooling caps and inserts were purchased for the Scalp Cooling Machine. Four infusion devices were provided with IV stands to the Oncology Unit.

Charmaine Barraclough continues her work with the Oncology Unit at Forster Private Hospital providing the free wig service. Charmaine provides wonderful support and assistance to those facing the challenge of treatment related hair loss and as well as the fitting and ordering of wigs and continues to support and provide encouragement to patients both in the unit and at their homes. What a difference this can make to maintain the dignity and confidence of patients going through a very challenging time. Fifteen wigs have been supplied in the past six months at a cost of nearly $3000.

We have purchased pressure relieving mattresses and cushions as well as maintained a large stock of general equipment that is loaned to patients and carers at no cost to them. We also receive generous donations of equipment from community members. The pressure relieving cushions and mattresses are constantly in use and I have received a request from the nurses for more to be to purchased, and this is currently in progress. My grateful thanks to Kevin who continues to serve as Equipment Officer, he delivers, picks up, cleans and maintains the equipment. Special thanks to Brenden Lowe who filled in for Kev when he was unavailable.

The annual Dying to Know Day was held with 80 people in attendance Thanks to Dr Colin Rose, Trish Lowe, Michelle Snape and Colleen Carter who were informative speakers and the Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club for providing a great venue. Our aim is to improve death literacy among our local community members and encourage those difficult conversations to be had with families and loved ones and thought be given to how people would like their care managed. After all, whether we acknowledge it or not – Death – it takes all of us.

We are fortunate to have many dedicated members on our fundraising Auxiliary. Their many different skills and the many hours they give under the enthusiastic leadership of Chris Smith ensures that our functions are well run and fundraising events are successful. Thank you for your generosity and time. So whether you sell raffle tickets, work at garage sales, make sandwiches or assist by telling others about this service, every contribution whether large or small contributes to the overall ability we have to continue service provision.

The annual Trivia Night held in Palliative Care Week was great fun and enjoyed by all who attended. The Melbourne Cup Luncheon again proved a great success with 35 local businesses providing support through sponsorship and prizes. Thank you to Charmaine and her team for the preparation, planning and help on the day, it was indeed a great fundraiser with 300 tickets sold and over $5000 raised. We again appreciate the support provided by Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club.

We remain extremely grateful to all those within our community that continue to support our service. Whether it be sporting clubs, service clubs or individuals who give a donation on a regular basis, we couldn’t do it without you. 51% of money received over the past four years came from donations with nearly 25% coming from fundraising.

We were recipients of the proceeds of the Seniors Week Concerts held in Forster and surprised on the day by the presentation of a cheque for $10,000 from Stephen Bromhead, Member for Myall Lakes.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Nixon family, and their many helpers who each year hold the Matt Nixon Memorial Golf Day in tribute to their son Matt. This year proceeds of $12,803.12 were received.

To Dr Geoff Whitehouse, his family and friends who held a memorial day for Sally on the 10th anniversary of her death. Proceeds and donations from this day were generously passed onto our service.

Our grateful thanks to the Cape Hawke Community Hospital and Health Association for their generous support of $500 per month.

My thanks to the Community Palliative Care Team for their dedication and the wonderful care that they give to the people of our community. It is a privilege to be able to help and support you in your work.

To the members of the Management Committee, my personal thanks for your support and the great work you do to enable us to continue our core business of providing and supporting palliative care service provision in our local area. To Heather Harman who resigned from her position on the committee and we thank her for her years of faithful service.

We look back on a year that accomplished much and ahead to another year of opportunities. I leave you with this thought….

Helping one person might not change the whole world. But it could change the world for one person.”

Deidre Stokes, President