From the original story Plans for palliative care respite centre as hospitalisations rise by Katie Burgess in the Canberra Times 18 October 2018.

Our colleagues at Palliative Care ACT have revealed plans to build a short-stay respite centre for palliative patients and their carers in Canberra.

Palliative Care ACT president Louise Mayo said that their plans had been prompted by increasing pressure on end-of-life care in the ACT and insufficient options for carers.

Ms Mayo said the centre would complement the ACT’s existing palliative care hospice, Clare Holland House, which was often too full to provide respite care, and would stop families at crisis point having to send their dying loved ones to hospital out of sheer desperation.

The ACT has seen a 79% increase in palliative care patients in public hospitals in the 4 years from 2011-12 to 2015-16, and patients tend to stay longer than anywhere else, except the Northern Territory, on average 11.6 days.

“We haven’t been able to find another model of care like this in the palliation space. There are definitely hospices that have specialist medical support but this is not that, this is just another version of being at home but one where carers can recharge their batteries.”

The home-like respite facility, named The Hub, would have about eight suites with an ancillary bedroom for carers to stay in. Each suite would have its own courtyard, so patients could have visitors or bring their dog, Ms Mayo said.

The centre would allow people to stay during the day, while their regular carer was at work or attending appointments, or overnight so their carer could get some rest.

“What we’re finding in our research and from anecdotal experience is when a person with a life-limiting illness goes to hospital they want their personal carer with them, they don’t want to be separated. The suites we’ll build will have a secondary bedroom where the primary carer can get some rest themselves,” Ms Mayo said.

Palliative Care ACT hopes to begin building the Hub by 2020 although the exact timeline will depend on how quickly they can raise the money needed to build and staff the centre.

Ms Mayo said recent discussions about voluntary euthanasia had put a spotlight on the need for more palliative care resources in Canberra.

An ACT Legislative Assembly inquiry looking at end-of-life choices is due to report back next month on the provision of palliative care and the applicability of the Victorian assisted dying scheme to the territory.

Click here to download a flyer about the Hub and help support their fundraising by ‘buying a brick’ [244kb]

Pic: Louise Mayo announcing The Hub at the Palliative Care ACT Annual Fundraising Dinner last Saturday. Some $103,000 were raised through the event.