Appeal to help hospice

A proposed hospice facility in Wanaka will receive a funding boost from the Otago Community Hospice (OCH) annual street appeal on Friday.

Funds raised in the Upper Clutha during the appeal will be shared between the OCH - the area's current provider of community-based specialist palliative care - and the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust (UCHT), which are working together to provide more hospice services in the area.

OCH chief executive Ginny Green said the organisation was ''absolutely committed'' to supporting the proposal and would continue to ensure Upper Clutha residents had access to specialist palliative care services.

It cost about $175,000 each year to provide hospice services free of charge for Central Otago residents, nearly 70% of which was funded by the Southern District Health Board.

OCH supported its patients where they wanted to be - usually at home - and 70% of patients on the hospice programme did not need to be admitted to the OCH inpatient unit in Dunedin.

However, because some did require admission for symptom management or to provide respite for family members, Wanaka residents had identified a need for a local care facility and so established the UCHT, which has plans for a palliative and respite care facility in the aged-care complex.

It is to be built at the Aspiring Lifestyle Retirement Village and is expected to be operational in late 2015.

The nursing, catering, laundry and cleaning support would be provided by the complex operator and patients would continue to receive medical care from their own GPs, with support from OCH and Dunstan Hospital clinicians.