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Calvary to take over hospice

By s-s-a - 27 July 2009 20

A letter in yesterday’s Canberra Times alerted me to the fact that in addition to getting paid by the ACT govt for selling Calvary Public Hospital, the Little Company of Mary are also getting Clare Holland House.

Did some searching and looks like this is true.

Under present arrangments at Calvary, various issues of concern to the Catholic church are enshrined in clinical practice at the public hospital. One example being that contraception is not to be discussed with women attending for 6-wk postnatal checks (though perversely, this does not apply to patients who deliver in Calvary Private because their 6-wk checks are done at their obstetrician’s rooms).

Will the government be seeking an assurance from LCM that care practices at Clare Holland House and related palliative care home services are not going to be similarly bastardised?

What’s Your opinion?

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20 Responses to
Calvary to take over hospice
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gun street girl 9:56 am 28 Jul 09

What I’m suggesting is that we will need to be vigilant against the LCM influencing care along the same lines that they’ve taken in the past at their other facilities. In the past (and currently), the LCM have issued staff with orders regarding what they are allowed to say, or not say, and mandated against legal interventions and procedures and the like – all on religious grounds. I’m simply saying they have a proven track record for running interference, and once they assume ownership of the Hospice, they won’t have the ACT Government to answer to (as much as it’s a toothless tiger and all, it has been able to keep things reasonably under control to date, given the influence of its financial stake in facilities managed by the LCM).

At present, except for the visibility of crucifixes at CHH, there’s no religious influence out at the Hospice – it’s an excellent facility, staffed by caring, compassionate people (incidentally, I don’t think a change of ownership will change that fact). Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon to have patients refuse to even consider the Hospice because of the crucifixes alone – what might seem insignificant to you or I isn’t so for others. Often there’s a fear that there will be a subtle religious pressure once they get out there, rather than obvious religious posturing – both on themselves, and their family and friends who visit – and no amount of reassurance will convince them otherwise. Whilst we only have one Hospice in the ACT, it’s a shame that so many patients who would otherwise do wonderfully well at the Hospice miss out simply because they’re confronted with religion at a time they don’t want to deal with that.

captainwhorebags 9:19 am 28 Jul 09

gun street girl – so what are you suggesting? That the LCM will stop people from dying if it’s not in a Catholic setting? I don’t think there are many priests that would be comfortable administering last rites if it is completely against the wishes of the patient. What gets tricky is if the family is dead against it, but perhaps the patient wasn’t.

kakosi 12:06 am 28 Jul 09

For what it’s worth I’ve been admitted into Woden, John James (prior to take over) and Calvary Hospital and the treatment of patients is VERY different.

At Calvary staff were friendlier and very caring – at Woden most of the nursing staff and registrars were either exhausted or didn’t seem to give a stuff. John James more than ten years ago wasn’t a a good place.

I never noticed anyone pushing religion or even mentioning it at Calvary. I would think that women who’ve had babies have their own doctors and obs to talk to about contraception and would have an idea about the “facts of life” having just given birth.

You have a choice which public hospital to go to – I know which one I feel safer in.

gun street girl 9:00 pm 27 Jul 09

Given that the Hospice and Calvary Hospital both have been funded by the ACT Government, it seems silly to be buying them back – but that’s another argument altogether. You appear to misunderstand my stand here: I actually don’t care what god or creature people wish to believe in (or not). I’ve seen enough people die to respect whatever it is that they want to do at the end of their life. If somebody wants a priest, a pastor, a rabbi, a shaman, a voodoo chief or the Flying Spaghetti Monster by their bedside, I will make it happen. If they want their family there, 24/7 – that’s what they get. If they want to be alone, free of intrusion, that’s their wish, and that’s what we put into place. I don’t see that as a “suppression of someone else’s choice” – quite the opposite. Palliative care is fundamentally about choice and assuming control of the time you have. What I believe I – and others – DON’T have any right to do is to impose something that is unwelcome whilst they die. For many, religion (in any guise) is unwelcome. The facility, and the people running it (including those working there) are not the important ones in this equation.

housebound 8:51 pm 27 Jul 09

I suggest that if the secular religion is so important to you that you would suppress someone else’s choice of non-secular faith, then lobby the government to set up one. or even better, take Clare Holland House (it’s the only ACT facility?) off those Catholic bigots to make sure you have your choice.

gun street girl 8:46 pm 27 Jul 09

So which secular Hospice in the ACT would you suggest people go to, then?

housebound 8:42 pm 27 Jul 09

Like I said – don’t go there. You would never find me in a catholic facility, but I completely respect their right to act according to their faith.

gun street girl 8:34 pm 27 Jul 09

People should feel free to be guided by whatever beliefs they might have – but this doesn’t give them the right to foist them onto others, particularly when said others are in a vulnerable position. Death is a personal thing, and some prefer to keep God out of it. This is a simple thing to respect.

housebound 8:29 pm 27 Jul 09

That’s right, God forbid that people bring their beliefs into their daily lives as they work, live and die. I mean, how bigoted could they be to presume they should be guided by their beliefs.

If the catholic thing scares you, don’t go there. (And I’m not even catholic.)

54-11 6:51 pm 27 Jul 09

That’s right, gun fighter. Let’s not even let these religious get into the act, because as soon as they can, the fundamentalism will start.

We should separate state and religion with as much space as we can, not let the lines be blurred.

gun street girl 6:47 pm 27 Jul 09

I think the bigger concern is whether they will try to involve religion and religious rites into the passage of dying. At present, such intrusion does not occur at CHH, but we should continue to be vigilant in that regard.

Quokka 6:12 pm 27 Jul 09

Meh. The LCM won’t allow euthanasia, but then again neither does the Australian judicial system. Hardly a clash of ideologies there…

pug206gti 5:08 pm 27 Jul 09

I’m highly against religion getting in the way of clinical practices at John James and Calvary, although I’m a little hard pressed to think of anything much that could get in the way of palliative care as it presently stands. Euthanasia perhaps, but that’s not exactly an option under the Self Government Act.

What the LCM do stand to gain is lots of generous benefactors. You see regularly on funeral notices not to send flowers but to donate to Clare Holland House.

Igglepiggle 3:46 pm 27 Jul 09

gun street girl said :

Igglepiggle said :

They give new staff a nice little leaflet mandating the banned practices

I politely sent said leaflet back, after tearing it up. 😉


Mine didn’t survive very long either.

gun street girl 3:19 pm 27 Jul 09

Igglepiggle said :

They give new staff a nice little leaflet mandating the banned practices

I politely sent said leaflet back, after tearing it up. 😉

Calvary are already established at CHH. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a negative impact, apart from the presence of crucifixes in the establishment, which does understandably upset some people. On the whole, though, Catholicism does not intrude on the excellent care given at CHH. Personally, I think the ACT Government is being stupid by not taking CHH back – but I’m not surprised.

Jim Jones 3:14 pm 27 Jul 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Not if you don’t want to be nursing the first kid’s sibling 9 months later. Plenty of people believe you can’t get pregnant for a year after birth, or while breast feeding, or whatever.

Just like you can’t get pregnant if you ‘do it’ standing up, right?

Woody Mann-Caruso 3:12 pm 27 Jul 09

Not if you don’t want to be nursing the first kid’s sibling 9 months later. Plenty of people believe you can’t get pregnant for a year after birth, or while breast feeding, or whatever.

Igglepiggle 3:12 pm 27 Jul 09

It can’t be discussed on the ward before discharge either, or in fact at any other time. They give new staff a nice little leaflet mandating the banned practices

s-s-a 3:11 pm 27 Jul 09

Err, at a 6-wk checkup the discussion about contraception usually focuses on managing the potential for *future* pregnancies…

semaj 3:04 pm 27 Jul 09

I would have thought that 6 weeks after birth is a bit late to be discussing contraception.

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