Sorry, it has been a while since the last Banter but the hot weather has introduced a level of ennui.  Last week’s meeting was a good example of the old adage “quality is better than quantity”.  Those who did attend were challenged by John Smythe to give an impromptu talk on a random subject selected from a list he had prepared ahead of time.  These varied from “What is your earliest childhood memory?” to “What was your favourite Christmas?” and even “Subject of your choice?” (I wimped out by selecting this one!).  We should do this again as it gave individual members an opportunity to tell us a bit more about themselves – always an engaging subject.
This week’s presentation was an equally engaging and perhaps more relevant subject – the Southern Highlands Community Hospice.  Their General Manager, Carisa Wells, gave us an overview of hospices generally, their benefits in relieving pressure on the hospital system while providing intensive personalised care, and some of the realities surrounding palliative care.  As many of us have had some association with palliative care already, and may well have much more in the future, this was of particular interest to the attendees.  Carisa also outlined some personal experiences that underpinned her passion regarding the development of a full-scale hospice facility in the Southern Highlands.
Carisa then went on to tell us more about the state of play in this area.  At the end of last year, they finally received DA approval to build a 10-bed facility on Bowral Street directly across from the hospital.  This will be done in partnership with local knee and hip man, Dr Nick Hartnell, and will be on land that has been designated as being exclusively for medical-related facilities.  The actual development could take up to two years to complete so, in the meantime, they will start offering “in-home” services, which can either be rolled into the completed hospice or continued in the home depending on circumstances at that time.
Finally, Carisa spoke briefly about the four hospice shops in Bowral and Mittagong and the 300+ volunteers that make all this possible.  She indicated that more volunteers would always be welcome, and I will circulate an application form for this in due course.