A GOOD YEAR: Meredith Dennis prepares to mark Wedgetail Retreat’s first birthday.
A GOOD YEAR: Meredith Dennis prepares to mark Wedgetail Retreat’s first birthday. Nolan Verheij-full

Wedgetail celebrates one year

CELEBRATIONS are in order as the state’s only adult end-of-life hospice, the Wedgetail Retreat at Dulguigan, prepares to celebrate its first birthday.

The retreat’s first anniversary will be marked with a morning tea fundraiser next Wednesday, hosted by one of the shire’s best known charities, Tweed Palliative Support (TPS).

TPS and its Murwillumbah op shop have gathered much community support over the past 18 years for their in-home volunteers, palliative care equipment and hospital beds.

TPS president Meredith Dennis said the morning tea party would be held at the hospice from 10.30am, with residents invited to join in the celebrations and help to fundraise for further community care.

Opened in February last year, the hospice is set in tranquil surrounds in the foothills of the Tweed Valley, providing end-of-life care for up to 300 people each year.

While free to patients, the non-profit organisation’s costs are $500 per night for care, including a registered nurse to administer medications.

It urgently needs funding for registered nurses to administer pain medication and catheter changes.

TPS also provides 200 in-home volunteers, 20 hospital beds, 40 wheelchairs and free transfers for radiotherapy patients. The reach for the organisation is approximately 1200 people a year.

“We opened the hospice one year ago with great support from the community,” Ms Dennis said.

“The four-bedroom facility is often full with respite or palliative clients and their families.

“We are not government-funded and to help us to continue our vital services to thousands of people with a life-limiting illness for many more years, we need help once again.”

Ms Dennis said residents could help by visiting the TPS website and setting up a $10-month direct debit donation, or by making a one-off donation.

TPS is lobbying the State Government to provide funding to cover its $500,000 annual nursing wages.

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