TCHHS launches new palliative care service

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Staff from the new Thursday Island palliative care service (l-r): Advanced Health Worker Victor Nona, Program Manager Diai Luffman and Advanced Health Worker Daniel Gela.

A new culturally sensitive service to support people in the final stages of their lives has been launched in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.

The new palliative care service is part of the Post-Acute Care and Rehabilitation and Aged Care (PARAC) team and was formed after a $171 million funding boost by the State Government in 2022 for end-of-life services across Queensland.

This service includes a clinical nurse and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker who have undergone specialist training to support the needs of the communities.

This team is working closely with the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service (TCHHS) Pop-Up Palliative Care Service (PUPS) and Cairns Hospital.

PARAC Health Program Manager Diai Luffman said the team had strong connections to the community and were aware of the cultural sensitivity required when speaking to people and their families about palliative care.

“This service aims to be a part and parcel of how we look after our loved ones when they need care the most,” she said.

“The Palliative Care Team can visit at home for nursing care, medication, getting equipment or other support.

“Being near the salt water and with extended family – our people want to come home no matter what the circumstances.”

TCHHS Acting Executive General Manager North Marita Sagigi said the new service would be available to people throughout the Torres Strait and NPA.

“Being able to offer palliative care services to our communities is a way to provide dignity to people in the final stages of their lives and to offer support to them and their families,” she said.

“We have seen the success of our PUPS team throughout our health service.

“It is wonderful to keep bringing these types of services closer to home and have people working in the service who understand our communities and have cultural awareness around what can be a very challenging time for people and their families.”

The new team will hold a community information session and morning tea at the Thursday Island Community Centre on 21 May from 9am – 1pm.

A second session will be held on Thursday Island at the Torres Strait Aged Care Centre on 24 May from 10am – 12pm.

The sessions are being held as part of Palliative Care Week which runs from May 19-25.