I have heard people talk of 'palliative care'. What does it mean?

Palliative care is healthcare for people with a disease that cannot be cured. Palliative care aims to improve your quality of life and to neither hasten nor postpone death.

The focus of palliative care is you and your total wellbeing; that is physical / tinana, social / whanaungatanga, emotional / hinengaro and spiritual / wairua wellbeing. Care is specific to you and focuses on you. Palliative care can be provided in your home or elsewhere in the community. Care is most often provided by your GP who can call on others like us for further advice and support for you.

What is Waipuna Hospice?

Waipuna Hospice provides a variety of specialised palliative care services for you when you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are typically within your last year of life. We also offer a range of support options for your family, whānau or carers, depending on their individual needs. We are an Incorporated Society founded in 1990 and administered by a Board of Trustees. Your GP can help decide if you meet our criteria for care and refer you to us.

What does it mean to be referred to hospice?

Being referred to Hospice means that the GP or team looking after you has, with your permission, asked for some advice or assistance in caring for you. For some people it might mean using the specialist skills that we have to help solve a challenge that you may have. It might mean supporting you and the people important to you emotionally or assisting you to get support or help at home. For other people referral may happen when death is close and they need our specialist help to manage this stage of their life.

How can I be referred?

Your GP or the team looking after you typically refer you. There is a criteria on our website that they can work through with you. You or your family/whānau can also contact us directly. We will always ask for your permission to communicate with your GP and specialist.

When is the right time?

Your GP, or the team looking after you can work with you, your family and us to determine that. We typically provide care to patients within the last year of their life.

What happens once my referral has been accepted?

Once your referral has been accepted you are typically seen first by a registered nurse and a social worker. You may also be seen by other members of the Hospice team – that could be a nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, doctor, spiritual carer, chaplain, cultural support and advocacy person, counsellor, or social worker, depending on your needs. We then develop a plan of care with you that focuses on what you want to achieve in the last months, weeks or days of your life.

Will my GP still be involved in my care once I am referred to Waipuna Hospice?

Yes, you will continue under the care of your GP. Our nurses will continue to liaise with your GP along with other healthcare professionals involved in your care.

Can you tell me how long I have to live?

It is difficult to predict. We can talk with you and your family or whānau about typical signs that suggest the end of your life may be approaching.

I want to die quickly, can you help me?

Hospice can help make you more comfortable but cannot help you die quickly. Assisting someone to die is illegal. The Hospice philosophy sees dying as a natural part of living. We see it as our role neither to hasten nor postpone death.

Where can I receive care?

You can receive care wherever you call home.  This could be in your home, at a family or friend’s home, a rest home or hospital.  We also have a nine bed inpatient unit which is available for short stays to manage specific healthcare needs.

Do you just care for people with cancer?

No. Waipuna Hospice cares for people who have a life-limiting (or terminal) illness. We are able to care for many different medical conditions. Some examples are end-stage heart, lung or renal disease, Motor Neurone Disease, or cancer.

Do you just care for older patients?

We care for people of all ages.

How much does Hospice care cost?

For residents of the Western Bay of Plenty, Hospice care is delivered free-of-charge to you, your family, whānau and carers, including supporting services such as counselling.  There are a small number of exceptional costs that may be passed on to you; these include delivery costs for a hospital bed, and any exceptional medication or consumable costs.  We can discuss these with you if they arise.

What care can I get at home from Waipuna Hospice?

Our Hospice at Home service includes nursing and family support staff who work closely with you and your own GP and others involved in your care. We can assist you to find additional support if you need it at home for example support with personal cares eg showering, home help and access to specialist equipment to ensure your comfort. We have a range of equipment which you can loan from us if you meet the criteria eg electric beds, wheelchairs, walking aids, shower stools etc.  We appreciate a donation to cover the cost of large items such as delivery costs for a hospital bed.

Hospice at Home

What happens if I need care outside of normal working hours?

Waipuna Hospice nurses are available to visit you at your home to provide support such as medication administration Monday to Friday as required, and provide a limited service on weekends. For urgent overnight needs we have a 24/7 phone line that you can ring for advice and support.  This phone number is 552 4380.  Your call will be answered by a Registered Nurse in our inpatient unit, and they will be able to offer you advice. In an emergency call 111.

How long can I stay at the Hospice Inpatient Unit?

Your length of stay in the IPU will be determined by your particular needs, but generally most stays are between seven and ten days

Can I bring my pet into the Inpatient Unit?

Your pets are not able to stay overnight. Well behaved socialised pets are welcome and a visit can be arranged with the nurse in charge.

What support services does Waipuna Hospice offer?

What if English is not my first language?

We can arrange for an interpreter if you wish.

Will I be in pain?

The experience of pain is different for everyone. Normally your pain can be well controlled. There are a number of options for managing pain and we will work closely with you and your GP to ensure your pain is as well controlled as possible.

Can I take complementary therapies for example vitamins or dietary supplements?

Many people choose to use complementary therapies alongside main-stream medicine. It is important that you are open and honest with us about what you are taking. There may be interactions between mainstream medicine and the ones you are taking so it is important that we know, so we can advise you about this.

Does the Hospice provide prescriptions?

Your GP will continue to prescribe your medication. Our nurses communicate with your GP, where required, regarding your medications. Hospice doctors and a nurse practitioner can write prescriptions in certain circumstances and will be in touch with your GP.

When does Hospice help stop?

Waipuna Hospice bereavement support team can offer a range of support options for your family, whānau or carers after you die.

Will students be part of my care?

We are a teaching Hospice. That means medical, nursing or other healthcare students may become part of the team caring for you from time to time. You will always be asked if you are willing to have a student involved in your care. If you decline this will not impact on the care you receive.

What volunteer opportunities are there at Waipuna Hospice?

Volunteers give generously of their time and skills for our organisation. They help in many areas including: Inpatient Unit support, community care of patients, administration support, biography “reflections” service, gardening, in the hospice kitchen, driving patients to specialist appointments, shop volunteers, fundraising, maintenance, building, odd job repairs, Day Programme, floral art, car maintenance among many other things. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer please go to our website and complete the application form

Become a Volunteer

I have more questions. How do I find the answers?

You can talk to your GP or Hospice nurse, or talk to one of the team looking after you, or you can contact us directly.