Some of the members of the Fitzroy Community Hospice board.
Some of the members of the Fitzroy Community Hospice board.

Hundreds register in support of CQ hospice project

More than 800 Central Queenslanders have registered as supporters of the Fitzroy Community Hospice since the announcement of the project in March.

Fitzroy Community Hospice board chair Dr. Vicki Richmond said the project had received encouraging feedback from many members.

“It seems that everyone has a story to tell about the end-of-life experience of a loved one,” she said.

“Palliative care is everyone’s business and needs to be seen as a basic human right, but unfortunately access to comprehensive community-based care in Central Queensland is currently extremely limited.”

The Fitzroy Community Hospice supports Palliative Care Queensland’s push to “ensure Queenslanders have a true choice with access to proper care in their last days, weeks, months, and years, and for their loved ones when they are bereaved”.

The group does not express opposition to euthanasia, for which a bill was put to Queensland Parliament in May, but argues people should have a choice which must include access to more than one option and sufficient funding for more than one option.

“While we commend the Palaszczuk Government’s 2020 election commitment to increase palliative care funding, it falls way short of what is needed now and in the future to accommodate Queensland’s growing and ageing population,” Dr Richmond said.

“The need for hospices in regional Queensland has been acknowledged, so we now call upon the Queensland Government to provide adequate capital and operational funding to achieve this.”

The group’s proposed palliative care centre would be the first hospice in Central Queensland.

It would be located at the decommissioned convent on Agnes Street in The Range, for which it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sisters of Mercy and awaits the results of a development application.

The hospice would provide:

  • onsite end-of-life and respite care in a 12-bed centre.
  • an outreach service for those who wish to die at home, including equipment loan, respite volunteers, and after-hours phone support and visits for no out-of-pocket cost.
  • support services, including for the bereaved.
  • education for hospice patients, their families, and the community about planning for death.

The Fitzroy Community Hospice is now gathering registrations on its website, lobbying governments for grant funding, and beginning community fundraising.

Its board is made of 11 Rockhampton and Livingstone residents: Joanne Bell, Wade Mann, John Martyn, Debra Richards, Steve Richards, Dr Vicki Richmond, Paula Ryan, and Mark Thompson.

Rockhampton councillor Neil Fisher, Dr Karen Quinn, and Sr Marie Riddel are advisers to the board.

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