Recently Secrets visited the End of Life Hub in Creswick to catch up with Jeremy McKnight and Dr. Claire Hepper, Directors of the charity, Shannon’s Bridge to find out how the charity had grown over the past three years. They were busy unloading, sorting and labelling medical equipment from a large shipping container standing in the back yard of the Hub. The equipment was no longer needed by various hospitals and medical centres that had donated the wheelchairs, walkers, commodes and other paraphernalia to Shannon’s Bridge. It was heavy work, but work that Claire and Jeremy happily undertook grateful for the generosity shown by institutions in repurposing the equipment that once would have been destined for landfill. It will now be loaned out to clients who would benefit in using something that was going to make their lives, just a little more comfortable. Claire said, “when someone is so ill that it is difficult for them to be mobile or join in family life, they don’t care if a chair has scratches or has a few dings on it – it is just a relief to feel ‘normal’, even if only for a short time”.
The ‘End of Life Care Hub’ began in Creswick to humble beginnings and now boasts around 100 volunteers who give their time supporting palliative care patients and their families. The support offered by volunteers can be as simple as shopping for patient, even walking the dog can sometimes be a relief to families who are otherwise fully occupied. The End of Life Care Hub runs training programs for their volunteers.
Asked where they see themselves in ten years’ time, both Jeremy and Claire said, “Out of a job! Ideally in that time, there will not be a need for us to drive Shannon’s Bridge as it will be normal for people to receive the right palliative care within their own communities”.
For details on Shannon’s Bridge and the End of Life Care Hub, visit http://shannonsbridge.com.