The Manly adolescent and young adult hospice (AYAH) is open for 15 to 24-year-olds who have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness or life-limiting condition.
AYAH offer a range of services from respite care to end of life and the feedback so far has been phenomenal.
Good Grief! chatted to AYAH Service Manager Tayia Yeates to learn more about the recently opened facility.
Four reasons we heart Manly AYAH
First of its kind
As many children with life limiting illnesses are living longer there is a gap between paedeatric and adult facilities.
‘With research and with various gene therapies children are reaching adulthood whereas previously they didn’t,’ Ms Yeates said.
This is the only dedicated adolescent and young adult hospice in Australia bridging the gap.
‘The hospices for children are no longer appropriate for young adults transitioning into adulthood and they are then being placed into adult hospitals which don’t really meet their needs.
‘Adolescents and young adults have a unique set of developmental and psychosocial needs and often those needs go unmet or unrecognised in children and adult settings,’ she said.
The hospice itself is homely inside but it’s the combination with the outside elements that elevates it to a truly special place for patients and visitors.
It is located at Manly on the grounds of the old Manly Hospital on the headland, overlooking the harbour.
‘It’s a lovely bushland setting, quite isolated and very peaceful and tranquil,’ said Ms Yeates.
The extra mile
The specially trained staff find the particular needs of the patient and give that added memory-creating experience.
Patients have the benefit of music and art therapy and have local musicians play on the terrace where patients can dance.
But it’s not only in-house memories that are made.
‘A patient really wanted to go to the Ed Sheeran concert so we arranged that – as well as a meet and greet,’ Ms Yeates said.
The specialised care and support provided includes respite care, symptom management, end of life care, bereavement support, counselling, accommodation for families, carers and friends and post-death care.
Post-death care can include giving family and friends extra time to say goodbye even if the patient has died in an acute hospital setting.
‘We have a room in the facility that can be cooled down to the appropriate temperature and it can accommodate an adolescent or adult for up to three days.
‘It has its own secret garden if you like, and people can come into the room and say goodbye or they can come to the window and say goodbye that way,’ said Ms Yeates
‘They can spend all the time they need as far as the grieving process is concerned,’ she said.
Are you interested in learning more? Then jump onto the Manly adolescent and young adult hospice site.
Palliative Care NSW has more on what it calls Australia’s first teenage hospice.