Western Australia’s landmark Children’s Hospice is another step closer to improving the State’s capacity to provide holistic and compassionate care to WA children living with a life-limiting condition, and their families.
In a first for the State, the hospice will provide palliative out-of-home respite care and support for children in Western Australia.
The McGowan Government is investing an additional $3.2 million for project planning and design to finalise the detail of the project.
The additional funding boost will also go towards current palliative services provided through the Child and Adolescent Health Service so it is able to provide the clinical planning required to build the hospice, and is geared up and ready for when the hospice is in operation.
The Child and Adolescent Health Service has entered into a partnership with the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation to build Western Australia’s first children’s hospice.
The Foundation will provide funding for the construction, fit-out and ongoing non-operational costs of the hospice while the Child and Adolescent Health Service will be responsible for governance, management and ongoing operational clinical and support services funding.
The estimated total cost of the hospice is $25 million and so far the Foundation has secured
$5 million from other sources, with significant funding proposals currently out in the market.
The hospice will have seven beds and three family accommodation suites for families to stay onsite, which will be particularly important for regional families. The hospice will provide outreach support and bereavement care to children and families across WA.
It will also incorporate shared family and play rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and therapy rooms, and a community garden adjacent to the facility.
It is currently anticipated that the hospice will achieve practical completion in late 2023 and open in 2024.
Sadly, until the hospice is constructed and opened, families who do not want their child to die at home can only be supported in hospital, and admission to hospital is required for symptom management.
In Western Australia, it is estimated there are approximately 2,000 children (and their families) living with a life-limiting illness.
Globally and in other Australian States, children’s hospices are well-established alternatives to in-hospital care to meet the needs of these children.
The design of the hospice will be modelled on learnings from other Australian and international hospices which have a homelike environment with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
It will be built on Crown Land at the former Swanbourne Bowling Club in Odern Crescent, Swanbourne.
Natural, sustainable principles will be applied to the build to ensure an abundance of natural light which provides a sense of connectedness to nature and outdoor spaces.
The establishment of a children’s hospice in Western Australia delivers on a key recommendation in the WA Sustainable Health Review, which is a McGowan Government election commitment.
It also builds upon existing paediatric models of care and optimal care pathways, and aligns with national and State strategies and frameworks.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Treatment and care at the moment is a choice between hospital or at home.
“I know the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation will build an incredible facility that the Government’s Child and Adolescent Health Service will be proud to run.
“This landmark hospice will ensure the specialist palliative care needs of all children across Western Australia are met.
“I want to congratulate the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation on their progress with this project. I know they would want me to say they can’t do it alone and this is where the generous support of Western Australians comes in.
“The build will take shape at the preferred site in Swanbourne which is something my Government has long supported.”
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Specialist paediatric palliative care is known to improve the quality of life for a child with a life-limiting condition, their family and carers from the time of diagnosis and over the course of the illness.
“It should be available and accessible, and align with the values, diversity and wishes of the child, their family and carers.
“This partnership between the Child and Adolescent Health Service and the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation will mean WA will have its first dedicated Children’s Hospice, however, this cannot be done without the generosity and support of Western Australians.”