Monday, May 20, 2024

SA Govt pledges $250k for palliative care ‘wish’ program

The South Australian Government is contributing $250,000 towards a program designed to help those living with life-limiting conditions enjoy a special wish in the last days, weeks or months of their lives.

Ambulance Wish South Australia – a collaboration of Palliative Care South Australia, St John Ambulance SA and Flinders University – will provide South Australians at the end stage of life with access to the planning, transport and clinical care they need to fulfil their special wish.

The State Government has pledged a $250,000 contribution over two and a half years to support the establishment of the program.

This funding will go towards the first stage of the program, which aims to fulfil 25 wishes for South Australians per year, while Ambulance Wish South Australia is seeking further support from businesses and the community in order to continue offering the service into the future.

For 55-year-old footy fan Simon Baraniec (pictured), who was diagnosed with spinal cancer in November 2023, his special wish involved a visit to Adelaide Oval to enjoy a pie and a beer one last time alongside a group of his mates. Thanks to the Ambulance Wish South Australia program, Simon was able to have his wish fulfilled today as the program’s first recipient.

“I feel very lucky to be the first recipient of this program and I’m happy to be involved because I love the idea of other people benefitting from it in the same way,” said Mr Baraniec.

“The care I’ve been receiving has been amazing and I want to give back in the same way that so many have given to me.”

Director of the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying at Flinders University, Professor Jennifer Tieman said such programs are vital because they normalise conversations around the end stage of life.

“Dying is a part of life and it will affect all of us. More than that, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the impact and broader benefits for society when we think about palliative care as something that we can all play a role in,” said Professor Tieman.

“We know palliative care can be a difficult time for the person going through it, their families and carers,” said Emergency Services Minister, Chris Picton.

“This is a wonderful initiative that gives people with a life-limiting condition and who are nearing the end of their lives an experience that has great meaning to them and their loved ones – just like today’s visit to Adelaide Oval for Simon and his mates.”

No SA Ambulance Service ambulances or paramedics are involved in delivery of the program as part of their paid SAAS employment, although they may be involved as a St John’s Ambulance volunteer, the Minister confirmed.

An ambulance has been provided by St John Ambulance SA to facilitate safe transport, with St John Ambulance SA volunteer paramedics and ambulance officers ensuring the safe transport of wish recipients, he said.

“It’s often simple pleasures that matter most when the end stage of life is near – a visit home, one last sunset or a cuddle with a pet. This program is about making these special wishes possible,” said Palliative Care SA CEO, Shyla Mills.

“We are incredibly grateful to the South Australian Government for the contribution towards this program and we’re encouraging South Australian businesses and the community alike to donate so that we can offer more wishes to those in the last days, weeks or months of life.”

To sponsor a wish, become a corporate partner or to join the Friends of Ambulance Wish SA donor group, visit

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