Program granting dying wishes of ill Queenslanders gets $50,000 boost

Ambulance Wish Queensland

The dying wishes of more terminally ill people will be fulfilled as Eastern Star Foundation awards a $50,000 grant to Palliative Care Queensland’s Ambulance Wish Queensland program.   

The grant will enable the organisation to further develop the program, which provides specialised transportation and the necessary medical care to empower those faced with a terminal illness to carry out their last wishes.   

The grant will be utilised to fund the volunteer village coordinator, to ensure that all program volunteers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and members of the community, receive the required training to perform their roles within the requirements of the program. The coordinator will also ensure the smooth scheduling of volunteer activities and be able to measure volunteer engagement  

Palliative Care Queensland Chief Executive Officer Shyla Mills said this support would help them to extend their reach, “our program was launched last year, we had over 200 expressions of interest to volunteer within the first 6 months and a social media reach of over 150 million.”

“This program is still in its infancy and had to be put on hold for a period of time due to COVID-19. However, it has really struck a chord with the community, so the recruitment, training and coordination of our ever-growing team of volunteers is a crucial component of our success as we look to re-start the program in July,” Ms Mills said.  

“The benefits of granting a final wish go far beyond the person requesting it and can equally impact the person’s loved ones and their wider support network. Therefore, our ability to provide a safe and enjoyable experience is our priority, so that memories can be made, and patients wellbeing can be improved. In addition the positive impact this program has on our volunteers is important too.” 

“Of course, what all of this will allow us to do, in broader sense is, to change the narrative around positive dying.”   

The grant was one of three initiatives to be funded by Eastern Star Foundation in its inaugural grant round, since becoming a charitable foundation last year. The group which was formerly known as Star Aged Living operated a not-for-profit aged care facility in Beaudesert before it was sold to Whiddon Group.  

Eastern Star Foundation Chairman Jonathan Nantes said his organisation was proud to partner with Palliative Care Queensland on this important program.   

“Our charitable focus is to empower those who enhance the quality of life for our ageing communities and given that the majority of Ambulance Wish Queensland’s clients are in their older years, this partnership was the perfect fit,” Mr Nantes said.  

“We look forward to furthering their cause to give the gift of choice to those nearing the end of life to fulfil their last wishes.”  

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