The TLC Ambulance is a step closer to being operational thanks to a partnership between Ambulance Victoria and TLC for Kids, a not-for-profit children’s charity.
The partnership will enable sick children in palliative care to be transported to their most treasured places.
Whether it’s travelling home for a cuddle with the family dog, a visit to a football match or a trip to the beach, the TLC Ambulance will give sick children and their families the opportunity to experience a sense of joy and feel like normal, away from a clinical setting.
The TLC Ambulance was the idea of Ambulance Victoria ALS paramedic Jemima Tawse, whose daughter Emily was born prematurely at 24 weeks and received support from TLC for Kids before she passed away aged seven.
After seeing a photo that went viral from Queensland Ambulance Service of a paramedic who took a palliative patient to the beach before she passed away, Jemima was inspired to make a difference to the lives of sick children in Victoria.
“When you get a negative forecast like a terminal illness, everything seems to be like a ‘Groundhog Day’ and you’re stuck inside a clinical timeframe of medications and doctor’s rounds,” she explained,
“To get a ray of sunshine in that storm is really nice.”
Initially, Ambulance Victoria was planning to donate a retired ambulance, however Mercedes has donated a new Sprinter vehicle to the project.
Thanks to TLC for Kids’ supporters, the TLC Ambulance is being fitted with medical equipment and will be decorated in a fun and welcoming environment suitable for children.
Ambulance Victoria CEO, Associate Professor Tony Walker, says the partnership is a great example of how Ambulance Victoria works to make a difference.
“Ambulance Victoria is part of the fabric of our community and we are pleased to be able to work with TLC for Kids to make a difference for children in need,” he said.
Ambulance Victoria paramedics will donate their time to operate the vehicle and to provide support and clinical treatment during special trips.
The TLC Ambulance is expected to hit the road in the coming weeks, before the end of 2019.