Children and their families needing palliative care will have access to a dedicated nurse as part of a $2.1 million investment over the next four years to expand services in the ACT.
Assistant health minister Meegan Fitzharris said palliative care was not just for the elderly; tragically, children also often needed such services.
“In this year’s budget the ACT government will provide a paediatric palliative care nurse to specifically address the needs of children and young adolescents,” she said.
“While children needing treatment for cancer usually go to Sydney, when they return to Canberra having someone there to help support them navigate local services can be vital.
“A dedicated nurse will be able to work closely with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network to support the delivery of palliative care for children and adolescents in our community, at Clare Holland House and in our hospitals.
“Having met with local families, especially the Wills and the Anthoney families who have been so remarkable in their efforts to raise awareness of childhood brain cancer, I know this funding will be very welcome here in Canberra.
“In memory of their children, Benny Wills and Dainere Anthoney, they identified a gap that this new service will fill for families who need these services at such a difficult time.”
Funds will be allocated in the budget to expand existing palliative care services at Canberra Hospital and provide support to patients, their families and carers, and staff, when making end-of-life decisions.
“This expansion of our palliative care services is also about ensuring that as Canberra’s population ages and demand for palliative care increases, Canberrans will continue to receive the care and dignity they deserve at the end of their life,” Fitzharris said.
The initiative would also complements services at Calvary Hospital, Clare Holland House and home based care, she said.