Further funding needed for palliative care

FUNDS SOUGHT: Maureen Klintberg and Sandi Elliott appealed to the Mount Gambier City Council to consider supporting In Home Hospice Care in the 2022/23 budget.

Charlotte Varcoe

IN Home Hospice Care services have been secured for several more months after receiving $74,200 under the State Government’s palliative care grants.

The care service trains and supports volunteers who care for at-home patients requiring palliative care at all hours of the day and night, while also supporting family members.

Hospice chairperson Maureen Klintberg said the community-run organisation was grateful to be recognised at a state level, yet the funding was insufficient to sustain the operation for a year.

According to Ms Klintberg, operational costs for the hospice organisation was $120,000 per year.

Now calling on the State Government to supply annual funding to allow the organisation to grow and expand, Ms Klintberg said volunteers would need to turn to fundraising to secure the rest of the money.

“We are grateful for the recognition and the ability to be able to access the grant through the palliative care program but the funding will only take us through for several months,” Ms Klintberg said.

“During that time we will have to fundraise within the community and encourage the community to recognise the need for our organisation and their ability to support those who need our services.”

Currently, Mount Gambier’s In Home Hospice program supports 35 volunteers and averages six to eight clients and their families per month.

“When we first started it was unknown how many clients we would have but we service up to 10 at a time,” Ms Klintberg said.

“With the generosity of the community and the number of volunteers that have undergone training, we are now able to support more clients and in particular carers as well.”

Offering services to carers of those requiring palliative care, Ms Klintberg said volunteers take the pressure off families and provide them with “well deserved rest”.

“When families are looking after someone 24-hours a day who needs palliative care, our volunteers fill the gaps so the carers can have a rest and recharge,” she said.

“We believe there needs to be a better focus in South Australia to have palliative care support services available, particularly in regional communities and I believe it should be part of annual funding from the State Government to ensure the service is available.”

Ms Klintberg also presented to Mount Gambier City Council this week as part of the 2022-2023 Annual Draft Budget submission.

Elected members voted to continue advocating for the services and to assist the service to find cheaper alternatives for office and training spaces.

Grant District Council has already allocated $2000 each financial year for three years.