St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore.
St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Hospital's sudden closure of palliative care ward

THE palliative care ward at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore remains closed after it was shut down on July 28.

St Vincent's Hospital chief executive officer, Steve Brierley, confirmed the measure was only temporary.

"Palliative care is not closing - it is relocating," he said.

"Our patients will receive the same level of care, the same expertise and the same commitment to person-centred care.

"We have a highly-skilled team of doctors and nurses supported by our pastoral care team who provide continuous care for all concerned."

St Vincent's Private Hospital's board confirmed the palliative ward moved on July 23, while the decision to temporarily shut down the ward was confirmed on July 28, due to low occupancy levels.

The biggest change will be moving the unit from the Ryan Wing, built in the 1930s, to a ward in the newer part of the hospital.

Mr Brierley said the move will allow palliative care patients and their families to be co-located with 24/7 care provided in Ward 4, with improved access to specialist equipment.

"We're very aware, however, that many families and our own staff will have a strong attachment to the palliative care unit, and we want to honour that as we transition to the new location," he said.

Families will continue to have access to a quiet confidential space exclusively for palliative care use.

The changes are expected to take place from mid-September.

St Vincent's Palliative Care Service offers a mixed approach, where private and public health care sector plus the local community work together to provide a 24-hour, seven day per week service to patients and their families.

Up until its temporary closing, the service comprised a nine-bed unit, complemented by a community consultative service funded by the Commonwealth Government.

The service provides advice on pain and symptom control, spiritual, emotional and bereavement support along with after hours care for registered patients.

For more information, members of the community can contact the hospital on 6627 9600 or visit svh.org.au