Hospice New Zealand


What is hospice?

Hospice palliative care can be provided in hospice in-patient facilities, hospital rest homes or in a person's home or place of residence in the community. Hospice is concept, a philosophy of care.

Hospice or palliative care is a special type of care for people whose illness is no longer curable. It enables them to achieve the best possible quality of life and also supports their friends, family and whānau.

What services does hospice provide?

Hospice provides services based on the communities need. They may include in-patient and community care, bereavement care, counselling and spiritual care, day-stay care, respite care, equipment hire, as well as education and research.

The services are provided by a multidisciplinary team, which may include: doctors, nurses, counsellors, spiritual counsellors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers. Many services are provided by volunteers, such as massage therapy, pet therapy and creative therapy.

Where is hospice or palliative care provided?

At home - community hospice palliative care services work alongside the patient's own doctor and district nurses and family.

In day-stay facilities - services may include medical and nursing care, spiritual support, physiotherapy, occupational therapy as well as varied creative and social activities.

In inpatient facilities - patients are admitted for a few days or weeks for specialist care. This may be for symptom control, respite or terminal care.

Is it true that once you go to a hospice you are unlikely to leave?

No. Many patients spend a day or two in hospice for symptom control and pain management. They then return to their homes where their care is continued. Hospice palliative care does not have to be provided in a hospice. It is often provided in a person's own home.

People may choose the supportive environment of a hospice in-patient facility. Whatever is best for them their family and friends is accommodated if possible.

Who can use hospice services?

Hospices can provide care for anyone who has a terminal diagnosis irrespective of age, religion, ethnicity or ability to pay. The majority of patients have cancer, but patients with other terminal illnesses also receive care (e.g. motor neurone disease, MS, heart failure)

Do you have to pay for hospice palliative care?

No, hospice or palliative care is free of charge to patients and their families.

The cost of care is covered by a contribution from Government through the Ministry of Health; the remainder is raised from the community through fundraising activities.

Are hospices scary places?

Hospices are warm, caring places, which provide the highest possible standard of care to people at their most vulnerable. The emphasis is on improving a person’s quality of life and to support their family, whanau and friends.

What is hospices position when it comes to euthanasia and physician assisted suicide?

After considerable discussion, international consultation and investigation Hospice NZ has developed a position statement on this issue - you can view the statement here.

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