Little Haven Palliative Care was founded in 1980 by Mrs Phyl Little (which is where the “Little” in Little Haven comes from. Having lost her husband, a daughter, and a nephew to cancer Mrs Little saw a need for better community support for cancer sufferers and their carers.
A group of friends and supporters joined together with the aim of building a hospice in Gympie for terminally ill patients, and to provide whatever support they could. For years, this group was funded solely by community donations, and literally operated out of the boot of a car, providing cancer support, respite care and equipment loans. Much of the money raised by this group went towards setting up the two palliative care rooms in the Gympie General Hospital.
In 1989 Little Haven Cooloola / Sunshine Coast Palliative Care became an incorporated organisation.
Little Haven Palliative Care introduces Nursing Support
In 1992 the committee employed Mrs Lou Beresford RN part-time to coordinate palliative care services for cancer sufferers and the terminally ill, initially working from her home and then, in 1997, moving to rooms in the Hospital.
In 1999 under a Federal Government initiative, Queensland Health provided partial funding to community groups for palliative care services, with additional funding being received from the Commonwealth Government National Health Reforms in 2011. Today total Government funding covers approximately 35% of the direct care budget with the remainder being raised through community support and self driven fundraising.
A permanent home for Little Haven was also offered in the Gympie General Hospital grounds and working from that administrative base a full range of palliative care services was made available by specialist palliative care nurses employed to provide in the home hospice care 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.”
Mrs Little’s vision was to build a hospice especially for terminally ill patients. Over the years, the thinking has changed with the majority of Australians wishing to die at home or at least to be supported there for as long as possible. At Little Haven, we provide the hospice service patient’s home, where with the assistance of our professional palliative care they can live their last months or days with the people they love around them in their familiar environment. The committee continues to have the vision for a small stand alone hospice for those patients who are unable to remain in their own home without the support of a dedicated carer, however our community based care provides the greatest support for the most people given the current funding agreement.
In 2004 Little Haven Palliative Care recognising the need for follow up bereavement care for our patient families, enhanced our service by employing of a Bereavement Support Nurse. Little Haven’s specialised palliative care nursing and bereavement support is now provided to over 200 families in the Gympie and surrounding region each year.
Little Haven continues to provide cancer and chemotherapy support to many others in the community, along with complementary therapies to enhance well being and a carers support group is held on premise monthly.
Little Haven Palliative Care Nurses – On Call 24 hours a day / 365 days a year