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Hospice Awareness Week More Vital Than Ever

Hospice Awareness Week More Vital Than Ever

Hospice New Zealand is concerned that people are not contacting them soon enough because of a misconception that Hospice is a ‘place’ where people go to die.

Chief Executive Officer, Mary Schumacher says that Hospice is not a building but a philosophy of care but often people who have not had contact with Hospice have a perception it is a place to be fearful of.

“We completely understand that people might imagine by contacting Hospice, once they are told their illness is life-limiting, they are admitting to themselves there is no hope but the reality is Hospice is about living every moment and focusing on providing people with the support, pain relief and care they and their family need to get on with living.”

Schumacher says because many of their 34 hospices have in-patient units or a base from which their staff work people think of Hospice as a building.

“Hospice is in fact a philosophy of care, which extends beyond physical needs, encompassing emotional, spiritual and social needs as well as caring for the needs of the family. It is very common to hear people admit that Hospice is nothing like they expected and how they wish they had contacted them sooner.”

The majority of the work hospice does takes place in the community with over 155,000 visits made to people in their homes in 2011.

“People want to be in their homes with their families and the care our Hospice community nurses provide is an essential part of our service. In Auckland alone there were 33,000 visits made. Most hospices provide or have access to a wide range of services such as spiritual care, day unit programmes, massage, art therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy and all of this is provided at no cost.”

Schumacher says community support for Hospice is critical and in addition to needing support with informing people on what they do, raising funds is vital to ensure the services remain free.

“It will cost $75 million to deliver Hospice services in 2012 and $30 million of that comes from the community. Our Awareness Week (14-20 May) is an essential time to educate people on what we do and that we need their help.”

Hospice New Zealand Patron and Ambassador Jo Seagar says with 34 hospices throughout the country there is an opportunity to get involved.

“This Hospice Awareness Week I hope you will support your local hospice by finding out more about what is going on your area. There are a great number of events planned including open days, memorial services, street appeals, or hosting a Hospice cuppa event.”

Hospice Awareness Week begins today.

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