Hummingbird House, Queensland’s lone children’s palliative care centre in Chermside, has relied on generous donors and patrons to sustain the services they provide to families. However, launching a new program called Hummingbird House at Home has required added resources to ensure that support reaches more children.
In early 2021, Hummingbird House at Home was activated, providing families in regional towns the vital care and support for their terminally ill children without the need for travelling to Chermside. The services also extended to connecting families with local providers or community groups who are more equipped and logistically prepared to provide support.
Yet rural and remote areas of Queensland are quite isolated and limited in supplies, services and expertise so team members of Hummingbird House at Home stay for some days with the families that need crucial end-of-life care for their kids. Many of these families prefer their child or baby to spend their final days at home, surrounded by familiar people in a familiar place.
Unfortunately, General Manager Dr Fiona Hawthorne said that the home care program for regional families has yet to establish a long-term plan due to a lack of funding. Though Hummingbird House receives grant money from the government, Ms Hawthorne said that they are looking for ways to supplement their resources to keep the regional home care program up and running.
More than a year ago, recommendations have been made for the State Government to build a children’s hospice to cater to the regional areas. Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed that funding was allocated between 2019-20 and 2020-21 for these services but its implementation has been left hanging.
According to Hummingbird House, operating this free service to Queenslanders costs $5.4 million a year for at least 5,000 families. Visit the official site to know more about supporting the hospice centre, whether as a donor or volunteer.