BOARD: St Vincent's Lismore private hospital in Lismore.
BOARD: St Vincent's Lismore private hospital in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Backlashes forces hospital to reopen palliative care ward

ST VINCENT'S Private Hospital Lismore has reopened its palliative care ward.

The palliative care unit was was co-located on July 23 with Ward 4, in the newer side of the building, due to "commercial and clinical reasons".

The hospital promised families would continue to have access to a quiet confidential space exclusively for palliative care use, but phone calls and letters received by The Northern Star pointed towards lack of a privacy for people in palliative care.

The Board of St Vincent's Private Hospital Lismore confirmed it listened and responded to community feedback and reversed its decision to relocate its palliative care unit.

Board Chairman Father Paul McDonald said the hospital has been heartened by the passion the community feels towards the unit, which until recently sat in the Ryan Wing, built in the 1930s.

"We recognise and respect that many families in Lismore have a special connection to the old location. As a Catholic facility we must always have compassion and empathy at the core of what we do," Father Paul said.

"Whilst there are sound commercial and clinical reasons for palliative care patients and their families to be co-located in a modern facility with the medical wards, death and dying involves an emotional and spiritual dimension that we cannot underestimate.

"At our Board meeting on Tuesday night, we reconfirmed our commitment to providing the best palliative care in a holistic and person-centred manner, which in this case meant moving back to the original location.

"How we care for people at the end of their lives and preserving human dignity is a key value at St Vincent's Hospital. That's the way we've done things for close to 100 years and we are especially pleased to make this announcement this week, as 27 September is the feast day of St Vincent de Paul."

In a statement, Father Paul said that whilst reversing this decision proves their commitment to listening to the community, "if we are to maintain and enhance our services we need to continue investigating ways of responding to the very real challenges in private health care that we currently face."

"We will continue to work with our staff to evaluate future directions and are thankful to the community for reminding us of how highly they regard our services," Father Paul said.

For more information, please call the hospital on 6627 9600 or visit svh.org.au.



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