QUEENSLAND’S has officially opened a hospice for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.
Hummingbird House, which officially opened last week, is only the third children’s hospice in Australia.
In stark comparison, the United Kingdom has 53 children’s hospices.
The Queensland-first is an eight-bed facility, providing a wide range of services including – short stay breaks, symptom management, family wellbeing, care at the end of life, bereavement support, and many activities and therapies.
16-year-old Mikaela is looking forward to staying at Hummingbird House with her family.
“It will mean respite and getting a break, and also for me being in a different environment besides my house,” she said.
“ I would probably describe it as a hotel for sick kids, and for their families as well.”
Paul Quilliam, co-founder of Hummingbird House, told guests and families at the October 7 launch: “As co-founders, Gabrielle and I are so excited the day to officially open the doors of Hummingbird House has arrived. It’s been an absolute privilege to work with so many good people, to build what has affectionately become known as “the house that Queensland built.”
The project received support from Federal and State governments; philanthropic, corporate, and community donors including Catholic schools and parishes which contributed through charity events and raffles.
“Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without the incredibly insightful input from families who have needed and will need Hummingbird House,” Mr Quilliam said.
“There are approximately 3700 children living with a life-limiting condition in Queensland at any one time.
“We are honoured to be part of welcoming the first families to Hummingbird House, see our vision become a reality, and say thank you to everyone who has helped deliver this essential service for Queensland families.”
Hummingbird House general manager Dr Fiona Hawthorne said the project was the result of a shared vision of thousands of families and supporters.
“It is a home away from home, offering best practice paediatric palliative care and family wellbeing support,” she said.
“It is a third option to hospital, and home. Hummingbird House is a place where kids can be kids, families can reconnect, and precious memories can be created.”
Hummingbird House aims to secure ongoing government funding and community and corporate support, to deliver the services of Hummingbird House cost-free to families.
Hummingbird House is a joint initiative of Hummingbird House Foundation and Wesley Mission Queensland.
By Mark Bowling