Celebrating 25 years of palliative care in the Murdoch community

30 Nov 2023

By The Record

SJOG Murdoch Hospice Nurse Unit Manager Jessica Wirrell, Director of Nursing Sarah-Jayne Powell, Madam Mayor Katy Mair, St John of God Murdoch Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Irish, Clinical Lead Palliative Care WA Health Associate Professor Alison Parr, Director of Hospice and Palliative Care Dr Scott Lee. Photo: Supplied.

St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice is proud to commemorate 25 years of commitment to providing compassionate end-of-life care.

Established in 1998, the Hospice has become an integral part of the community, addressing the diverse needs of patients and their families.

It is the only freestanding purpose-built hospice in Western Australia and in 2006 was seamlessly integrated into the Murdoch community, aligning its values with those of St John of God Health Care.

The 2021 completion of a $5 million upgrade underscores the Hospice’s dedication to providing exceptional facilities and high standards of care.

The interdisciplinary approach of the palliative care service brings together healthcare professionals and specially trained palliative experts to address the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cultural aspects of care for patients and their families.

The Murdoch Community Hospice cares for 520 patients on average each year, including public, private, DVA and self-funded patients, holding a strong relationship with the South Metropolitan Health Service.

St John of God Murdoch CEO Ben Irish says the Hospice has continued to evolve and expand to meet the needs of a growing community.

“Reaching this 25-year milestone is a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing exceptional care, and the recent upgrade reflects our dedication to a positive patient experience,” he said.

“Since 2006, the Hospice’s integration with the Murdoch community has been transformative in the palliative care and end-of-life space, ensuring we meet the diverse needs of our patients.”

SJOG Murdoch Hospice caregivers with Pastoral Care Manager May Lee and Hospice Nurse Manager Jessica Wirrell. Photo: Supplied.

Murdoch’s Director of Hospice and Palliative Care, Dr Scott Lee, highlights the broader impact of palliative care in our community.

“Palliative care is about holistic well-being, and we are proud to be a beacon of support for patients and their families in their challenging times,” he said.

“By caring for patients holistically, easing their distress, and addressing their psycho-social and spiritual needs, we instil hope not only in the patient but also in their families with the realisation that they can still enjoy life and discover meaningful reasons to embrace the time they have left.”

The Murdoch Community Hospice is also home to the Footprints Day Centre, which Nurse Unit Manager Jessica Wirrell says offers a range of complementary therapies to end-of-life patients, outpatients, and their families.

“We successfully re-established the Footprints Day Centre program in 2023, with 11 new volunteers offering their specialist services including massage therapy, beauty therapy, reiki, reflexology, aromatherapy, meditation, wellness support group and craft workshops.”

The recent refurbishment was fully funded by community donations through St John of God Foundation, and included updates to individual rooms, the Footprints Day Centre, an outpatient clinic, and various common areas and family facilities.

A celebration ceremony marked the 25 Year Anniversary, attended by St John of God Murdoch Hospital CEO Ben Irish, community members and special guests including, St John of God Health Care Board Chair the Hon Kerry Sanderson AC CVO, Palliative Care WA CEO Lenka Psar-McCabe, Madam Mayor Katy Mair, and representatives from South Metropolitan Health Service.

As St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice reflects on its 25-year journey, it remains committed to providing compassionate, end-of-life care and supporting patients, carers, and families through their unique challenges.