Community Scoop

Hospice Kaipara – 25 Years Providing Palliative Care

Press Release – Northland DHB

Hospice Kaipara 25 Years Providing Palliative Care Hospice Kaipara celebrated their 25th anniversary of providing palliative care in the Kaipara with a function in the Dargaville Town Hall last Friday. Linda Newson of Te Kopuru, whose husband …Hospice Kaipara – 25 Years Providing Palliative Care

Hospice Kaipara celebrated their 25th anniversary of providing palliative care in the Kaipara with a function in the Dargaville Town Hall last Friday.

Linda Newson of Te Kopuru, whose husband Alan was looked after by Hospice before he died last year, speaks highly of the service she and her family received.

“Alan had a lengthy illness. Hospice was with us for the last eight months. As a family we wanted Alan to die at home. Hospice were just amazing, I just can’t speak highly enough of them.

“I had had no nursing experience, I had support from friends and the kids would come up to help on the weekends. It was really helpful to have support from the nurses, especially with the medication management as this was quite tricky at times.”

In 1990 Dargaville district nurse Mary Munn recognised the need for a support group for people living with a terminal illness and two years later social worker Marlene Calder and volunteer Jean Finlayson attended the New Zealand Hospice conference, and Kaipara Palliative Care was formed with Jean as coordinator soon after.

In 2007 Kaipara Palliative Care became Hospice Kaipara Inc. affiliated to Hospice New Zealand.

Marlene is still a social worker in Dargaville for the Northland DHB and Jean is a Hospice Kaipara volunteer.

Initially Hospice provided care coordination and volunteer support and this has developed into providing equipment, clinical care and specialist palliative physician care.

“The main aim of hospice is about supporting people to remain at home,” offered Annette Olsen, lead clinical nurse.

“The average number of patients looked after by Kaipara Hospice at any one time is 25. It’s not just cancer, often its end stage conditions such as heart failure, kidney disease or motor neurone disease,” Annette noted.

“The motto is Living Every Moment and we provide support and care to patients and their family/whānau and friends, managing symptoms, equipment and liaising with other support/care providers.”

Today Hospice and the DHB are part of a multidisciplinary team. Services are put in place for people nearing the end stage of their life including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, Māori liaison (Takawaenga) and social work.
“We also share care with district nurses and we have a telephone after-hours service with North Haven Hospice.

“We have an open admission agreement with the DHB allowing patients to come in to Dargaville Hospital after-hours because otherwise they may need to be transported to Whangarei Hospital.”

The Kowhai Room is in the general ward at Dargaville Hospital and was set up in 1993. It’s a four bedded hospital room which has been renovated to add a kitchenette, a fold out couch plus ensuite which enables family/whānau and friends to stay with their loved ones.

People can come in for symptom management and very end of life care however most of the patients die at home with support from the Hospice team.

The Hospice staff have a good relationship with the local GPs who remain the patient’s primary caregivers.

Celebrations in the foyer of the Dargaville Town Hall on Friday were kicked off with Dale Schick, the chair of the hospice board speaking followed by Kaipara Mayor Greg Gent acknowledging the wonderful service provided by volunteers, staff and the community.

Kaipara Hospice’s shop Pennies From Heaven is one of the key fundraising activities supported by the 147 volunteers.

“No hospice could function without its volunteers,” Annette says. “We are very well supported by our community with strong volunteer support, donations and bequests which we are very grateful for.”

The support Kaipara Hospice receives from the community means they have been able to purchase equipment and supplies and continue providing the valuable service to the Kaipara community.

Linda Newson said: “They provided us with a wheelchair and visited once a fortnight to start with and as Alan became closer to passing away it was twice a week. They would call on a Friday. If they were going past our place, they would pop in and check that everything was alright.”

“They treated us with respect and dignity and after Alan passed away they have kept in contact to check I was okay, ringing me every week.

“Hospice went over and above what I thought they would do – they would pick up our prescriptions, they would bring baking. Nurse Linda and Annette were just amazing. It was the little tips they gave us that were so helpful, especially towards the end with Alan.

“On behalf of myself and our children: thank you so much – we couldn’t have done it without you Hospice.”

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