Otago hospice in financial uncertainty

Ginny Green
Ginny Green
Otago Community Hospice services, vital in the middle of a pandemic, are continuing, but the financial viability of the service is uncertain, chief executive Ginny Green says.

The hospice relies on public donations and proceeds from its hospice shops to maintain its palliative care service, but with the nation under Covid-19 Level 4 restrictions both sources of income have dried up for an indeterminate period.

"Our people are mostly working from home and the fundraising team are getting on with what they can, but we are concerned about how this is going to impact on us long-term as our ability to fundraise has gone out the window," Ms Green said.

"We still hold our contract with the Southern DHB and we were delighted last week to hear that our contract would be rolled over for another year, so we do have that level of certainty, and we are doing everything we can to be innovative about raising funds."

 

The hospice building in Dunedin’s North East Valley is open for patients but closed to the general public.

"We are admitting patients but sadly, we are having to limit them to one visitor, who is to stay in the room and not go anywhere else," Ms Green said.

"It is a real dilemma, balancing the duty of care to patients and the whole idea of wrapping a holistic package of services around that family unit, but it is about the safety of the nation and the safety of that family."

Almost all hospice work is done in the community, and community workers had stepped up with commitment to a new way of working, Ms Green said.

"We do have a slightly pared-back workforce, as some people have not been able to work because they have underlying health conditions or dependants.

"We are only seeing very, very unwell patients in person, otherwise most of what we are doing is either over the phone or video conferencing, and people are being very willing to try all these technologies, given that a lot of our clients are ... not always able to easily manage that."

The hospice was working closely with hospitals and aged-care facilities and was able to assist when needed, Ms Green said.

"Like every other agency, we are working with the DHB to secure personal protective equipment when required."

The hospice has asked all its volunteers to not work during the Level 4 restrictions, and Ms Green said the organisation missed having them around.

"We look forward to them being ready and raring to go when things come right."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

 

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