Townsville Palliative Care Centre

Townsville Palliative Care Centre is situated at the Townsville Hospital. Constructed with community support and assistance from the Queensland Cancer Fund, the Centre was purpose-built and opened in 2009. It has a 15-bed inpatient unit with capacity for 20 beds in the future. The inpatient unit has 14 single rooms and three double suites each with views either to the mountains or a nearby creek. The gardens have a spiritual room and gazebo for outdoor activities. The Palliative Care Service has been in operation for over 18 years.

The Centre’s outreach service provides a consultancy inpatient and outpatient service for the Townsville Health Service District hospitals and community. The consultancy service also visits Cairns once a fortnight. To ensure 24 hours day, 7 days a week support for patients wishing to remain at home, a contracting organisation provides home nursing and equipment as part of the outreach service.  Patients are able to move seamlessly between the inpatient and outpatient service due to the coordination between the palliative care multidisciplinary team and the hospital and community services. The multidisciplinary team comprises of a Director of palliative care, consultant, inpatient registrar, community registrar, SMO, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, dietician, speech therapist, pharmacist, Indigenous liaison officer, coordinator of volunteers, social workers, volunteers and nursing staff.

The Palliative Care Centre is actively involved in educating health professionals and the community through various forums. The Centre is situated beside the James Cook University, which allows students of all disciplines to have access to the Centre. Regular videoconferencing to hospitals throughout North Queensland also provides education to those unable to attend the Centre. PEPA placements are another opportunity for the Centre to provide education, with placements from various settings, disciplines and areas of the state. The most recent have been from Weipa, Atherton, Bundaberg and Mount Isa. Participants that have attended for four to five days are GP’s, residential aged care facility Registered Nurses, Indigenous Liaison Officers, Clinical Nurses and Registrars. The participants have also been a great source of knowledge for the staff at the Centre as they provide information for what the main issues are in their community and the Centre team can provide support during their placement and on their return to their workplace.

It is an honour and a privilege to have PEPA placements and be able to provide education and support to health professionals making a difference in various settings of care. By building partnerships and improving access to palliative care, we are strengthening an important part of health services – end of life care.

Debbie D’Urso

Nurse Unit Manager
Palliative Care Outreach
The Townsville Palliative Care Centre

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