Rob Evans and his wife Margaret are long-time supporters of the need for local, inpatient hospice care on the Sunshine Coast. They have always played active roles in the community including volunteering. Rob ran his own air conditioning company until recently and provided his services to the charity at mates’ rates.
“There are many worthwhile organisations which we could have chosen to support, but my wife’s a nurse and we had lost some family members so the idea of helping people die with dignity ticked a box for us in so many ways.”
Rob and Margaret were shocked to learn that the Sunshine Coast did not have a single stand alone licensed and accredited Hospice.
“Where we come from in Wellington, New Zealand there was always a big hospice, or even two hospices. We also travelled the United States extensively on our motorbikes, and we came across hospices right across the states. When working in England we saw quality hospices over there.”
“Hospices are very different to hospitals. There’s no noisy banging and clanging all night. There’s no machines sucking and blowing. Sometimes there are family pets beside beds. Hospitals are not the ideal place to spend your last days.”
Rob and Margaret understand that not every person can die at home either.
“My wife works as a nurse supporting aged people to stay in their own homes while they wish to do so and are able to, but many of these people will eventually need hospice care. So many people now don’t have a family able to support them. Then the team at the hospice become their family during their last days. This is a vital point.”
“I personally can’t think of any better place to spend your last days if all your family are in Sydney, or you don’t have any family left and you need taking care of. The thought of it gets me going and I’m tough as nails.”
Rob acknowledges that hospital staff due to their high workload perhaps do not have capacity to spend quality time with patients in their final days and feels there is a far better option available with hospice care.
“We can do better. We’ve got a situation here and we can make some big changes.
“At the end stage of life you are totally vulnerable and that’s when hospice comes in. They can take care of your needs in a loving environment and take care of the people coming to see you whether they are family or friends. And you can actually be happy.”
“We must have a facility on the Coast that caters for end of life. And I’m not talking about respite or sending a team of nurses into people’s homes even 24 hours a day. I’m talking about an environment that is sunny, happy, comfortable and where there are people around you who really care about you.”