Lincolns' Legacy: Emergency immediate payment to assist Paediatric ICU families!
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On the 6th December 2015, our lives changed forever. Our 9 day old baby was transferred from Toowoomba hospital to the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane via the Rescue 500 helicopter. I travelled with Lincoln in the helicopter with just the clothes on my back, my husband drove down with a suitcase containing clothes for a few days.
Our baby boy was placed on a life support machine at around 8pm on the 6th December and it was clear to us that if he was going to survive, we would be in the Paediatric ICU for the long term. The doctors informed us 'this would be a marathon, not a sprint.' We were lucky enough to secure a room in the hospital upstairs emergency accommodation provided by the Ronald McDonald House.
All families are not so lucky...there are only 9 rooms available and most of the time they are full. These rooms also only allow parents, so if there are other children, families that suddenly and shockingly find themselves in these dire circumstances are forced to pay for accommodation which is approximately $150 per night within walking distance.
If eligible, parents can receive a travel subsidy if they live more than 50km away from the hospital and their child was unable to be treated at their home hospital. This is $60 per night. This also takes time to apply for, be approved and then applied to your accommodation expenses.
There are funds (newstart, parenting and/or carer's all of which are not for this situation) available from Centrelink but as we all know, this takes ALOT of time to apply for and many, many hours on the phone or in person and many, many pieces of paper to fill out. Let me assure you, there is not one family that we met that had the inclination or the time to go and apply for these payments. They would rather have no money, then leave their child who is in a very critical situation. There is a big possibility that their child may not survive.
There is currently NO specific payment for this particular circumstance! I wish to petition Centrelink and the Social Services Minister to create an emergency payment for parents who suddenly find themselves in ICU with their critically ill child who are going through the worst hell imaginable. I would like to see this payment be made immediately (within 2 days), no questions asked, for patients who are predicted to be in ICU for longer than 7 days.
This little bit of financial help would lessen the stress immensely. Just because your world has stopped and time is seemingly standing still, unfortunately does not mean that the bills stop, that the direct debits stop...the world outside of your world is still turning, still moving. We met families where the parents were unable to stay with their very sick child as they had to go back to work, had to go home, could not afford to stay there...this was the absolute saddest situation to see, watching a parent have no other choice is truly heartbreaking.
We were residents of Lady Cilento for 135 days. Sadly our little baby Lincoln passed away. Please sign this petition and make life a little less stressful for parents in these terrible, unimaginable, gut wrenching situations!
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