After 18 months of construction and more than a decade’s planning, the Forrest Centre Hospice has officially opened on Lewisham Avenue, Wagga.
“At any given time in the Riverina there’s about 50 or 60 people who are palliative,” said CEO Evan Robertson.
With the blessing of The Right Reverend Bishop Trevor Edwards and Sister Jennifer Barrow, the hospice will be open for its first intake as early as Tuesday September 18.
“Given the choice a lot would want to stay in their homes, but if that’s not practical, this is as near to home as we can make it,” he said.
“It’s absolutely vital for people who are nearing the end of their lives to have options and alternatives to hospitals.”
Prior to its opening, the nearest such centre was in Canberra.
“It’s extremely important for people at the end of their lives to be near their family,” Mr Robertson said.
“Trying to keep life normal and comforting for them, so that they can spend that time with loved ones and really just say goodbye.”
Now that the Forrest Centre is operational, Mr Robertson hopes it will lead to other facilities opening around the Riverina to accommodate the smaller towns further away from the city centre.
“I think the Forrest Centre could end up being a good blueprint for regional Australia to go off,” he said.