Ambulance Wish Western Australia launched its fundraising and sponsorship program during National Palliative Care Week at the end of May 2020.
The aim of the launch during this important calendar event was to raise awareness of the charity, its aims and to raise funds to purchase a Wish Ambulance to grant terminally ill, immobile West Australians their dying wishes.
Ambulance Wish Western Australia is a volunteer-managed registered charity established to provide West Australians living with a terminal illness access to the specialist transport and medical care they need to fulfil their last wishes, at no cost to the patient or their family. Once operational, the charity will initially operate within 150km of the Perth CBD until they have sufficient resources to expand the service.
The organisations long-term goal is to have a fleet of Wish Ambulances that can operated across the state.
During a patient’s final months, weeks or days, Ambulance Wish Western Australia will make it possible to bring them joy and comfort through visiting a familiar place that reignites precious memories, or fulfilment of something special on their bucket list that can give them a sense of achievement and excitement.
It will also be possible to gather family and friends to create one last memory, one last celebration of their loved one.
It’s usually the little things that mean the most to a person nearing the end of their life, like a last visit to the family home, the chance to watch a grandchild get married or see one last sunset.
Fulfilling a final wish is not just about the person living with a terminal illness. It provides an opportunity for their family members, friends and loved ones to share the experience with them to create lasting memories.
The concept realised by The Netherlands’ charity, Stichting Ambulance Wens (Ambulance Wish Foundation), has been introduced across the globe and now Western Australia.
Since its conception in 2007, Stichting Ambulance Wens has fulfilled nearly 14,000 wishes.
It currently has six wish ambulances, 270 medically trained volunteers and often provides five to six wishes in a single day.
Following the death of a friend from a brain tumour, health professionals, Gary and Susie Wilson, were inspired by the international story of the Ambulance Wish Foundation and could see how a similar scheme could benefit Western Australian patients.
After reaching out to Stichting Ambulance Wens, they, with a group of friends, who also work in healthcare, established Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
Fulfilling the final wishes of terminally ill patients can be challenging as you could be transporting an immobile patient, or one who might require continuous oxygen or other medical appliances and support, said Susie Wilson, chair of the charity’s volunteer Management Committee.
“The Ambulance Wish Western Australia program will use medically trained volunteers (including nurses and paramedics), dedicated ambulances and the necessary equipment to transport people to fulfil their wish successfully and safely.”
Ambulance Wish Western Australia is managed by a volunteer Management Committee with support from Palliative Care Western Australia.
Palliative Care WA’s vision is quality palliative care for all and the organisation is working towards this by emphasising a collaborative approach with its members, the palliative care sector and other key stakeholders, and in particular with the WA community.
Their experience in promoting the principles and practices of palliative care will assist Ambulance Wish Western Australia to provide the highest quality care for its wish recipients and its integration into the WA palliative care sector.
“Great care is about improving the quality of life for patients – physically, mentally and spiritually. Identifying and fulfilling a last wish can help both the patient and their loved ones. Quite often it is the smallest or simplest wish, for example visiting home or memorable location, that means the most,” said Mrs Wilson.
Donation can be made via the charity’s website – www.ambulancewishwa.org.au – while conversations regarding partnerships and sponsorship are welcomed on (Tel) 0476 893101 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org