Warrnambool and District Community Hospice expands services

Warrnambool and District Community Hospice is extending its service to help people who live alone.

For more than two years the hospice in the home program has been providing volunteer support to families and carers to help their loved one die in their own home.

Warrnambool and District Community Hospice president Eric Fairbank and vice-president Deidre Bidmade with hospice volunteers.

Warrnambool and District Community Hospice president Eric Fairbank and vice-president Deidre Bidmade with hospice volunteers.

Hospice president Eric Fairbank said the organisation was stepping in to respond to people living on their own who, despite deteriorating health, wanted to stay there.

“Hospice in the home is often asked to help people who are living on their own, with no primary carer close at hand,” Dr Fairbank said.

“Our existing policy is to insist on a primary carer, as our service is unable to replace family and/or friends. In such cases hospice in the home has been unable to help under the current model, and other services have been suggested. 

“However, inadequate responses from these services often mean problems are not properly solved.”

Dr Fairbank said a person who qualified for the new service – Hospice in the Home Assist – would receive a daily visit from a hospice volunteer 

“This is different from the extended daytime, out of hours, weekend and overnight visits already established,” he said.

Volunteers would visit once a day, but only for a period of up to 30 minutes, to check that the person is OK and to help with brief, simple tasks.

Dr Fairbank said there would be a number of conditions attached to Hospice in the Home Assist, including the understanding that it was not an emergency service and that independent living must be “reasonably practical”.

“Once the person’s health deteriorates significantly, reassessment will be necessary,” Dr Fairbank said.

Warrnambool and District Community Hospice is in the middle of training its fifth group of volunteers and will have about 60 trained carers by the end of the year.

For more information on hospice visit www.wdchospice.org.au