Palliative Care is active care that aims to relieve suffering and promote comfort when cure is no longer possible. This care provides physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual support for patients, families and their friends. The Southern Adelaide Palliative Services (SAPS) is an award winning consultative service providing care for people with a life limiting illness in southern metropolitan Adelaide. Raising funds to support services helps to improve the lives of people affected by life limiting illness and their families. Dying affects us all.
Daw House Hospice, a 15-bed inpatient unit located in Adelaide’s southern region at Daw Park, provides specialist palliative care to people who choose to receive care both within hospice and supported care at home. This dedicated team of health professionals including nurses, social workers, a bereavement counsellor, art therapist and a committed group of caring volunteers, all function together to respond to the needs of clients in a timely and compassionate manner.
The Daw House Hospice Foundation raises money to support end of life services that are not currently funded by the South Australian Government. Support means more than just medical help; people with a terminal illness also need emotional, spiritual and practical support on a daily basis. Some of our services include Art Therapy, Pets as Therapy, Bereavement Services, Complementary Therapies, Volunteer Support and an active Research Program.
As the closure of Daw House Hospice approaches and we reflect on our time at the ‘Repat’ site, it is worth mentioning some of the history of this beloved building! After many years in private hands and extensive additions, Daw Park Private Hospital was sold in the mid–1970s to the Repatriation Department, who misleadingly named the old Dawes mansion, Daw House and it became the site of the academic Rehabilitation Unit of the Repatriation General Hospital.
When the decision was made to close the hospice at Kylara, the South Australian Health Commission chose Daw House as the future site for hospice inpatient beds in the southern metropolitan region of Adelaide. The rehabilitation function that had been based in Daw House closed at the end of 1987 and extensive refurbishments commenced in February 1988. On 16 August 1988 the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Ben Humphreys, and the South Australian Minister of Health, the Hon. Frank Blevins, jointly opened Daw House Hospice, and the first patients were admitted.
Recent Daw House Hospice achievements include SAPS Director Kate Swetenham receiving the prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship and Roger Lush being named recipient of Palliative Care Australia's esteemed national Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer award. These are just a couple of the many wonderful successes and triumphs, both small and large achieved over the years.
As we begin this next era of improved palliative care services, the new Laurel Hospice (palliative care unit) at Flinders Medical Centre with 15 beds will provide every patient with their own private room and ensuite bathroom, allowing greater privacy and dignity to people and their loved ones. Patients and visitors will also have access to a rooftop garden with large undercover areas and 180 degree views of the coast. Private spaces have been cleverly designed, where people can be together as a family, and dedicated and free parking spots for hospice visitors is close by for easy access.
As we recently officially farewelled Daw House Hospice at a beautiful ceremony attended by many, we fondly look back on almost 30 years of wonderful care and service at this iconic building known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’. Sadness, memories, celebration and excitement have been felt by staff, patients and their families, with the recognition of many new opportunities for improved palliative care services ahead.
Tony Lawson, Executive Officer, Daw House Hospice Foundation