Palliative Care Support – in keeping with our Mission
The Order of Malta has been active in supporting the provision of quality palliative care in keeping with its mission “to practice charity towards my neighbours, especially the poor and the sick”.
In Victoria, for many years the Order has supported St Vincent’s palliative care hostel Caritas Christi in Kew and is a partner, along with St. Vincent’s and Outer Eastern Palliative Care Services in Eastern Palliative Care (EPC).
Consoeur Dr Anne Hunt OAM has served on the EPC Board for a number of years and will take over as Chair in 2018. Joining her on the Board are Confreres Prof David Kissane, who also chairs its Clinical Governance Committee, Stuart Rowland who chairs the Ethics Committee and the Hon Justice Bernard Teague AO.
EPC is heavily reliant on public support as well as Government funding and its Public Relations and Fundraising Committee has an important role to play in raising funds for the purchase of equipment. Consoeur Lilian Antonelli OAM is most active on this Committee especially in coordinating the biennial Italian lunch and the annual cinema nights.
On a more day to day level, and following the example set some years ago by Confrere Sir James Gobbo, members of the Order are active volunteers with EPC’s Biography Programme.
The Biography Programme helps terminally ill people to record and publish their life stories. Finished biographies are provided in print and electronically for the clients to use as they wish. Clients who have used the Programme often report a rise in the sense of wellbeing and some decreases in levels of depression, anxiety, breathlessness and even pain. They have said that the most enjoyable aspect of the project is the regular interaction between themselves and the biographer.
Furthermore, the published biography then remains as an important record for the family of their deceased member of the family
In 2018 EPC will publish its 1000th biography. Consoeur Tanya Murphy and Confreres Gerard O’Donnell and Sauro Antonelli AM are actively involved as biographers and see it as fitting appropriately in the mission of our Order.
In New South Wales, Members provide ongoing support to St Joseph’s Palliative Care Unit in Auburn.
The Order’s financial support has purchased equipment and improved facilities at the unit, which would not have been possible within the hospital’s normal health budget. This has included portable morphine pumps for patient pain relief, refurbishment of the family and quiet room and a prognostic tool to assess patients at the unit, which has avoided the transfer of patients to Auburn District Hospital for assessment.
In Queensland, Members have provided support to Mt Olivet, now named St Vincent’s Hospital. Members on a regular basis sit with, console and listen to patients in their time of great need.
Most recently the branch committed to provide funds for the ongoing restocking of the drinks cart, which is a favourite amongst many patients. Additionally, Members have also established the Tess Cramond Memorial fund, in memory of our much loved and influential member, Prof Tess Cramond AO OBE. The Fund aims to have a more focused campaign on raising money and donating to the hospital for much-needed works in palliative care.
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