QUEANBEYAN Hospital's Palliative Care Service could not provide the level of care they do without donations from the Queanbeyan District and Rodeo Association's annual rodeo. This year a total of $40,000 was raised and the Palliative Care Service were one of the community organisations to receive a share of the association's donations.
Palliative Care co-ordinator Katherine Smith said they would use the donation this year to purchase mattress overlays and covers that prevent pressure sores for bedbound patients. "Since it's started in 2000, we've been lucky enough to have [the QDRA's] support every year. The money varies from year to year depending on the amount of money they've made but it's consistently been thousands of dollars," Mrs Smith said. "It's been really helpful, we wouldn't have this equipment otherwise."
The rodeo has been running since 2000, raising a total of $150,000 in that time. Mrs Smith said staff and service user were grateful for the ongoing association with the QDRA. "They give us other support not just financial. The committee is like a partner not just a donor," she said. "They're affirming of our service, wanting to do more for us, they're very good. They don't expect us to go and work at the rodeo but still donate, they don't pressure us.''
With the QDRA's donations, the service has also purchased shower chairs and stools, syringe drivers, oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, bed pans and bottles, waterproof sheeting for beds, wheelie walkers and a portable hospital bed. Mrs Smith said this equipment allowed patients freedom and control in the final stages of their life.
"Families couldn't keep their relative at home without this equipment, it's cost effective to have patients be at home and a lot of people want to be in their own bed," she said.
The Palliative Care Service comprises of three nurses, a councillor and access to general hospital staff. They visit 20 active full-time clients and many others that require less care either at their private homes or nursing home.
"Without donations, for example you couldn't say, 'here's an oxygen machine' when people usually would have to hire it for $100 per month. It's free in the ACT but not NSW, some people can't afford it so it gives people the opportunity to stay home with this equipment that available."
The QDRA have provided donations to organisations including The Queanbeyan Rural Fire Brigade, Girl Guides, Queanbeyan Children's Special Needs Group, Queanbeyan Scouts, Gearys Gap Pony Club, Queanbeyan Pony Club, The Cancer Support Group, Ronald McDonald House, Home in Queanbeyan and Meals on Wheels.
QDRA president Mark Mills said they continue to assist local community group. "We try to donate to an array of different charities...we want to put some money back into the area," he said. "We'll continue to support charities year after year, we enjoy doing it, running the rodeo and enjoy giving the money we make to charity."
Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall praised the QDRA for all their hard work.
"Not only is the Queanbeyan Rodeo one of the biggest events on the Queanbeyan Calendar with upwards of 5,000 plus attending, it is also one of the biggest events on the NSW rodeo calendar," he said.
"It has also become the biggest charity event in Queanbeyan assisting many community service and charity organisations across our area. I congratulate Mark Mills, all on the committee and all sponsors for their contribution to Queanbeyan life."