President’s Report 2019 / 2020

President’s Report 2019 / 2020

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 patients in Gloucester, Tea Gardens and Bulahdelah on an individual needs basis. Since October 2019 we have assisted 70 patients through help from Mid Coast Assist.

We have continued to assist with the costs of medication, provision of aids and hiring of specialised equipment as required which has eased the burden of care on families and carers. Just last week a hospital bed was needed urgently on a Friday and none were available for loan either in Taree or Newcastle so we were able to hire one and have it delivered and set up on that day allowing the patient to stay at home.

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 organise end of life care assistance. We continue to provide massage vouchers which can be made available to patients or distressed family members. Jane Bone or the Oncology nurses recognise those struggling with their treatment regimens and provide a voucher for a massage to enhance self-care and Cathy Brown- Massage Therapist attends a home visit when suitable for the patient. We have also supported regular pain relieving massage sessions for an elderly patient in care, which greatly enhanced her comfort in her last days.

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. In the seven years since its inception 136 wigs as well as caps, turbans and hats have been supplied.

We maintain a large stock of general equipment that is loaned to patients and carers at no cost to them. The equipment is stored in part of the Forster CWA Building which is managed by Mid Coast Council. We have just renewed the lease for another 12 months at a cost of $1782 pa. My grateful thanks to my husband Kevin who continues to serve as Equipment Officer, he delivers, picks up, cleans and maintains all the equipment. Special thanks to Brenden Lowe who fills in for Kev when he is unavailable.

Earlier this year we embarked on a new challenge, we rented premises at 32 Manning St Tuncurry to give us a visual presence in the community, a place to hold regular garage sales and provide information and education material to the general community. The lease was signed in February but of course with the arrival of the COVID pandemic we were restricted with using the premises for many months. Fundraising of any kind was restricted and our usual fundraising ventures had to be cancelled. We were unable to have our annual Trivia night and celebrations for Palliative Care Week. To recognise Palliative Care week we set up a Memorial window in the Tuncurry premises with flowers in remembrance of loved ones for a small donation. This went well and we hope to continue this on an annual basis. As COVID restrictions finally eased garage sales were started under COVID safe practices and have been happening on a monthly basis with help from a great band of helpers that get together most Tuesdays mornings to sort and set up for the coming sale as well as those who help on sale day.

This year has been like no other, with normal meetings, fundraising events and usual activities unable to be held. We are fortunate to have many dedicated members on our fundraising Auxiliary who under the leadership of Lynn Nadjarian have remained faithful and continued to support each other and the work we do. Despite lockdown and the difficult times experienced through Covid service provision was maintained and all requests were met. Thank you for your generosity and time

It has been especially heartening to welcome 9 new members to our organisation this year, and we look forward to working with you and getting to know you.

Wendy Boon updated and redesigned our website and we appreciate the new look and how it is easier to navigate.

We have recommenced meeting 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.

Despite the difficulties of Covid 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.

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

Our thanks must go 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 all you do to enable us to continue our core business of providing and supporting palliative care service provision in our local area. Earlier this year Suzanne Roach our Treasurer resigned and we are grateful for the time and effort she put in over quite a few years in that position.

Sadly it is the end of an era, Nigel Harman who has served as not only Vice President for 10 years but recently took on the Treasures position as well has resigned. Nigel has faithfully served our organisation for many years and due to ill health is unable to continue on. We very much appreciate everything Heather and Nigel have contributed and wish him improving health and rest in the future.

We come to the end of a difficult and very different year and my wish for all of you is a safe and blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year where we can continue on together being of service to our local community.

I would move that my report be accepted.

Deidre Stokes, President


President’s Report 2018 / 2019

Our Services

Your Help is Needed – Please Donate Here