Making dreams come true

The Dream A Little Dream initiative started at St John of God Berwick Hospital earlier this year to grant a wish to patients and their loved ones during end of life care.

16 November 2018

The program offers small but meaningful dreams that can usually be carried out in the hospital setting while the patient is receiving care.

St John of God Berwick Chief Executive Officer Lisa Norman said the small acts of kindness were intended to bring some light to what is usually a very sad time.

“We aim to create beautiful memories for loved ones and bring joy to the patient by making a dream come true,” Lisa said.

St John of God Berwick Hospital Marketing Manager Lisa Carman said the idea for the program came about after helping two patients who were receiving palliative care in the hospital enjoy special moments.

“We initially helped two women who were approaching the end of their life to enjoy an experience special to them,” she said.

“Our first patient was Leonie Hollingworth, a lifelong Melbourne Demons fan, and we were able to arrange for club legend Russell Robertson to spend time with her at her bedside,” she said.

“The second patient, Gina, was a young mum who was also receiving palliative care. We were touched by the challenges faced by this young family and set about arranging a professional photoshoot along with a wig and professional makeup for Gina.

“The beautiful photos captured were gifted to the family and printed onto polar fleece blankets for the girls to snuggle up in and keep as memories of their mother.”

The realisation that these special moments could be offered to palliative patients at the hospital facing end of life care sparked the idea for Dream A Little Dream.

How patients access a dream

“The hospital’s pastoral practitioners and nurses will discuss the program with palliative patients and their loved ones and provide them with a dream menu,” Lisa said.

“Patients can choose from the menu or they can request a custom dream.

“The dream menu includes experiences like a pamper treatment, a shave and hair cut for the men, a visit from a beloved pet, a romantic dinner for two, a family dinner party, art therapy, dignity therapy, yoga and reiki amongst others.

“While a custom dream can be anything that the patient desires and our team will then set about making the wish a reality in the best way we can with the resources at hand.”

How you can help

We are asking for donations and support from the community to help us make our patient’s dreams a reality.

You can donate online or complete the form below if you can offer a service or product (please note we may contact you at short notice given the nature of end of life care).