Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice
Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice

VIDEO: Agnes St convent site up for extensive renos

The Fitzroy Community Hospice, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, proposes to transform the Loreto convent site on Agnes St to house a “coordinated and integrated” hospice program.

Member of the board, Paula Ryan, said it would be an expensive undertaking for which they were seeking both State and Federal funding, in stages.

Agnes St convent site will be transformed into a hospice
Agnes St convent site will be transformed into a hospice

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint; we’re looking at many years’ development,” she said.

The hospice-at-home program would be established as a priority, with works on the in-house accommodation happening “down the track”.

Located within the hospital precinct, the site - which is flat and spacious at 5000 sqm - offers ease of access to nearby specialists and trainees.

“Traditionally, this is a place of caring and peace,” Ms Ryan said.

“That’s important in our long-term model.”

Fitzroy Community Hospice, which formed late last year, intends to provide on-site end of life and respite care in a 12-bed, home-like facility that will be peaceful and surrounded by gardens.

Community outreach care, provided 24/7 by palliative care nurses, will support and enable patients who wish to remain at home.

Holistic support services including bereavement support will be provided for patients, families, and carers.

It is envisaged that all services will be free of charge and will be available to people of all ages with an advanced life-limiting condition, not just those with cancer.

Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice
Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice

The FCH board has negotiated an agreement with the owners of the site, the Sisters of Mercy to explore the feasibility of repurposing the property into an independent, non-denominational hospice.

“With only eight hospices in Queensland, all of which are in the South East of the state, access to comprehensive community-based palliative care is limited in Central Queensland.”

“We know many Australians prefer to be cared for and die comfortably at home.”

“Unfortunately, while 70% of people say this is their preference, less than 10% of Australians die at home each year,” she said.

Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice
Agnes St convent site will be transformed into hospice

Fitzroy Community Hospice will collaborate with existing specialist and community-based palliative care services and seeks to improve integration and coordination of patient care.

“We envisage that care will be provided primarily for those living in the wider Rockhampton region and Livingstone Shire, however transitional care for other Central Queensland residents is likely”, Ms Ryan said.

Community support will be crucial for the development of this hospice, and volunteers will play a vital role in its operation.

While Fitzroy Community Hospice is still very much in the planning stage, people interested in finding out more and registering their support are encouraged to visit the website www.fitzroyhospice.org.au.

People looking for palliative care information and support now, are encouraged to contact PalAssist on 1800 772 237 (7am-7pm, 7 days), info@palassist.org.au, www.palassist.org.au.



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