The Specialist Palliative Care Services (SPCS) in Tasmania include:
- Specialist Palliative Care Service inpatient unit, J.W. Whittle Palliative Care Unit, located in Hobart
- Specialist Palliative Care Service Hospital Palliative Care Team, located at the Royal Hobart Hospital
- Specialist Palliative Care Service, Community Palliative Care Service, located in Hobart
- Specialist Palliative Care Service, located in Launceston
- Specialist Palliative Care Service, located in Burnie.
J.W. Whittle Palliative Care Unit
The J.W. Whittle, Palliative Care Unit (PCU) is located at the Repatriation Centre, in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.
It is named after Sergeant John Woods Whittle who was a WW1 Victoria Cross recipient.
The PCU is a 10-bed unit and provides 24-hour care to patients and their families.
The patients are cared for using a multidisciplinary approach by palliative medical specialists, registrar and resident doctors, registered and enrolled nurses, social worker, physiotherapist, music therapist, pastoral care worker, pharmacist and volunteers. Speech and occupational therapists are also available as needed.
The PCU provides symptom management, carer respite, psychosocial and spiritual support for patients and their families. Many patients return home to be cared for by their local GP and community health nurses and the specialist palliative care community team while others choose to remain in the unit until their death.
The staff on the PCU provide a holistic approach to care and this is complemented by hospice volunteers who provide a listening ear, a friendly face and a foot massage.
The PCU is a welcoming and friendly family environment with a children’s play area, rooms where relatives and families can spend time together, a communal kitchen where relatives and friends can prepare food, and a lovely court yard. There are potted plants, water features and a barbecue which can be used by families to share a meal with their loved ones. (Please note due to COVID-19 restrictions some of these features are not available at this time due to health restrictions – this may include visiting hours, children’s play area and access to kitchen facilities and visiting rooms). This may vary depending upon the current level of restrictions in Tasmania.
The PCU has been an integral part of the PEPA program as it is the only public hospice in Tasmania. Participants come from all around the state to carry out their placements and have always found it to be a very positive experience. Whittle Unit staff also benefit from hosting PEPA participants. It provides an opportunity for them to meet staff from other healthcare settings, hear about their challenges and to develop a network of health professionals across the state.
Major hospital and community-based palliative care services
Specialist Palliative Care Services consultancy teams are available within the Royal Hobart Hospital, Launceston General Hospital, the Melwood Unit at St Luke’s Campus Calvary Health Care, The North West Regional Hospital and the Mersey Community Hospital. All of our specialist teams work closely with hospital staff to assist patients and their families in meeting patient and family need.
PEPA participants can spend time in all specialist palliative care settings to learn more about the delivery of palliative care.
Please note that all participants will be required to have daily COVID-19 screening and are advised if they have any cold/flu symptoms that they are not to attend the workplace. Other requirements may be in place and these will be discussed with participants prior to their placements. Manager support for the placement is a pre-requisite of attendance.
Angela Kosmeyer, Kristen Aylmer and Anna McLean
Nurse Unit Managers, Palliative Care
Helen Woodbridge, Clinical Nurse Educator, PEPA
For more information, please visit https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/palliativecare