What is Hospice?

Hospice palliative care can be provided at the Hospice in-patient facility, hospital, rest home or in a person's home or place of residence in the community. Hospice is concept, a philosophy of care - so much more than a building.

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 family and friends.

Are Hospices scary places?

There is a common misperception that Hospice Wanganui is "the place on the hill where you go to die", and this view is often enough to challenge the way people feel about Hospice and the care it provides.  Our Hospice, like every other, is a warm, caring place, which provides the highest possible standard of care to people who are at their most vulnerable. The emphasis is on improving a person’s quality of life, and to support their family, whanau and friends.

Where is Hospice or palliative care provided?

At home or place of residence - community Hospice palliative care services work alongside the patient's own doctor and district nurses and family.

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

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 around 30% of Hospice Wanganui patients have other illnesses such as motor neurone disease, MS, heart failure, kidney or respiratory diseases.

What services does Hospice provide?

Hospice provides services based on the community's need.  It may include in-patient and community care, bereavement care, counselling and spiritual/pastoral care, day-stay care, respite care, equipment loan, 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 companionship/visits, the writing of biographies, and the preparation of meals at the inpatient unit on weekends.

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 some funding from the government through the Ministry of Health; the remainder is raised from the community through fundraising activities.  The three retail outlets we have in Wanganui are instrumental in the success of our fundraising activities, and all proceeds from our three stores stay here in Wanganui, helping Wanganui families.

If I go to Hospice, will I come home again?

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 most 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 wherever possible.