EVENTS

“People sometimes say that when you’re diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, it’s like holding a giant magnifying glass up to your life”, says Mary Schumacher, Chief Executive of Hospice New Zealand. “Suddenly the things that truly matter become even clearer”.

May 14–20 is Hospice Awareness Week 2018, an opportunity for communities to better understand how local hospices can help people who are dying, and their families, ‘live every moment’. “Many people dearly wish to be cared for at home, close to their loved ones”, says Ms Schumacher.

“For some, it might be very important to be able to watch the sunrise, listen to their favourite music or watch their children play sport. Hospice helps people make the most of their lives; to live every moment in whatever way is important to them”.

Hospice care is holistic, considering a person’s physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs. Hospices care for families and caregivers as well, both before and after a death. Most care is provided in the community, and it is completely free of charge for patients and their families.

People are often not aware that hospices provide care for people of any age, with any life limiting condition. Around 25% of people accessing hospice services have a diagnosis other than cancer – life limiting conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease or motor neurone disease.

“Last year, a third of all people who died in New Zealand were supported by hospice,” says Ms Schumacher. “We’re incredibly proud to know that hospice plays such a big role in our country, and touches so many people’s lives. We do hope people will take the opportunity this week to learn more about their local hospice service, how they can get involved, and to consider what truly ‘living every moment’ means to them”.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Hospice is not just a building; it is a philosophy of care. The majority of people receiving support are cared for in their homes.
  • Our goal is to help people make the most of their lives; to live every moment in whatever way is important to them.
  • Hospices can provide care and support for anyone living with a life limiting condition – e.g. heart failure, motor neurone disease, MS or cancer.
  • We care for the whole person, not just their physical needs but also their emotional, spiritual, and social needs too.
  • We care for families and friends as well, both before and after a death.
  • Hospices are independent charitable organisations providing care and support completely free of charge to people using our services.
  • Whilst free of charge to people using hospice services it costs a lot to provide, in 2016 it will cost over $100m nationally.
  • As an essential health service provider, hospices receive the majority of funding from Government; financial support from the community is essential to meet the shortfall – in 2015 the total required from fundraising efforts was more than $45M nationally.

SNAPSHOT OF HOSPICE SERVICES

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Last year, hospice services across the country provided care and support for more than 18,000 people and their families, carers and whānau, either before or after the death of their loved one.
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1 in 3 people who die in New Zealand each year are supported by hospice.
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Hospice services provide care and support for anyone with a life limiting condition – not just people with cancer. Last year 30% of people in hospice care had a diagnosis other than cancer.

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In 2015, people from 61 different ethnic groups were cared for by hospice.

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Together, a generous team of volunteers give over 1 million hours of their time each year to support hospice services.