Donations to The Greatest Need provide practical support for our most vulnerable patients. These are one-time gifts to patients to help them leave hospital and move forward with their lives.
Since the fund was establised in October 2018 we have supported over 700 patients. The Greatest Need fund is 100% supported by donations. The more donations we receive, the more people we can support.
The following are stories of some of the patients we have been able to support thanks to donations to The Greatest Need fund.
Maria*, an aged-care pensioner who lives alone with her cat Bella, presented to Sunshine Emergency after a fall at home. On learning that she required hospital admission, Maria became quite distressed about the welfare of Bella and was refusing to be hospitalised as there was nobody she could ask to care for her pet. Through The Greatest Need we were able to arrange for Bella to stay in a cattery while Maria received the treatment she needed.
Brian* is a Type-1 diabetic who is required to take insulin daily. In recent months he had been regularly presenting to Footscray Emergency after experiencing 'hypo' episodes. Each time he maintained that he was taking his insulin as instructed. The most recent occasion triggered a home visit, where staff discovered that Brian's fridge had broken down some months ago and he did not have the money to replace it. For insulin to be effective, it must be refrigerated. Through The Greatest Need we were able to purchase a small fridge for Brian, and he has not presented back at Emergency since.
Earlier this year Debbie* was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Ineligible for sickness benefits due to being casually employed, Debbie applied for a Disability Sickness Pension through Centrelink. While waiting for this to come through however, Debbie had no income coming in to cover her rent and basic living expenses. Her landlord then advised that the unit she was renting was up for sale. Suddenly Debbie was faced with the very real prospect of being homeless. Through The Greatest Need we were able to assist Debbie with a month's rent and provide her with food vouchers. We then helped Debbie to secure a place in transitional housing to support her as her health declined.
Jodie* presented to the Sunshine Emergency Department after fleeing her abusive partner. Through The Greatest Need we were able to provide her with immediate support in the form of a mobile phone and a handbag with basic toiletries and sanitary products. We were also able to provide Jodie with two nights' hotel accommodation while arrangements could be made for her at a women's shelter.
Ahmed*, a 23-year old asylum seeker, was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. Without any family in Australia, and ineligible for government funding for end-of-life care, Ahmed was faced with the lonely prospect of spending his remaining days in hospital. Through The Greatest Need, we were able to hire a palliative hospital bed so that Ahmed could be cared for at home by close friends from his local church.
Three days after giving birth at Sunshine Hospital, Sarah* and her infant daughter were ready to be discharged. When the midwife asked where the car seat was, Sarah said she wasn't able to afford one. The midwife organised for one to be hired, only to then find that Sarah and her daughter were actually homeless and were being discharged to the family's car. Through The Greatest Need, staff were able to arrange for crisis accommodation for Sarah and her daughter, and to pay for the car seat.