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Hospice launches Opening Doors

Hospice launches Opening Doors

A Melbourne Cup event will usher in Mercy Hospice Auckland’s day stay service - Opening Doors - for people with palliatively illnesses who are being cared for in the community. Patients, staff and volunteers will don hats and try their luck in a sweepstake during a special Melbourne Cup morning tea to launch the service (on 4 November at 10.30 am at the hospice in College Hill, Ponsonby).

It is the first time Mercy Hospice Auckland has offered a day stay programme. It is additional to its 13-bed inpatient facility and the comprehensive community palliative care service it runs in central Auckland. Mercy Hospice Auckland staff make around 10,000 home visits annually to palliative patients throughout the Auckland District Health Board area.

Opening Doors is so named because it is open to all patients registered with the community palliative service – there are currently 220 registered – and because its programme will be open to the ideas, needs and desires of its patients. The programme will operate every Tuesday from 10am to 2 pm and patients may come every week or whenever they feel up to it.

The Day Unit coordinator Viv James says Opening Doors will give patients an opportunity to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and meet new people in beautiful surrounds. “With the change of scenery comes a place of friendship, creativity, support, relaxation and refreshment,” she says. “Caregivers on the others hand can take a well deserved break.”

The programme is about the patients so although structured, it will cater for the individual needs and interests of each person. Relaxation, massage, a movie with popcorn, painting, crafts, theme days and special outings may all be on the agenda. “With the majority of patients in our first group being men we can also foresee a few pool tournaments at the nearby Cavalier Tavern,” Viv says. “The sky is the limit.

The hospice has also been offered special treats for the caregivers of people attending Opening Doors. Bodytech in Mt Eden, for instance, has offered a month’s free membership at their gym for carers.

“We have had a great response from both the community and patients so far,” Viv James says, “however, if people would like to volunteer to offer a service or an outing for the Opening Doors programme we would be delighted to hear from them.

Referral to or inquiry about the Opening Doors programme can be done through the Community Palliative Care Team, a GP or just contact Mercy Hospice Auckland.

“Contrary to some people’s understanding of hospice it is a very positive and energetic environment. It is a place where everyone wants to give and support one another. We have a heap of fun here, always looking for an opportunity to laugh!”


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