Demand for hospice services rises

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green has seen the organisation's focus reverse in...
Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Otago Community Hospice is looking to expand in Central Otago as demand for the service rises in the region.

An increase of about 30% hospice patient numbers in the district has been observed over the past 12 months.

The matter of Central Otago's ageing population has been raised by community leaders in recent times.

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said this was a factor but highlighted the greater awareness of what hospices could offer.

"People are becoming referrers and caregivers are becoming more aware of what hospice services can offer.

"They're less reluctant to make contact."

About 50 patients in Central Otago were part of the hospice, compared with 35 around the same time last year, Ms Green said.

A total of four care co-ordinators were operating across the district.

There was collaboration between Central Otago and Southland care teams to provide services in Queenstown, where numbers were increasing.

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said it was starting to get to the stage where staff were feeling pressure.

"The district is vast in travel and patients are getting more complex.

"There is pressure on the team."

The organisation is looking to fill a handful of roles in the regions, from carers to administration staff. As patient numbers increase, an expansion of Otago Community Hospice's Kowhai Programme was also taking shape.

The six-year-old Kowhai Programme centres on education for caregivers and patients, so they can feel more confident at home.

The popularity of the face-to-face sessions delivered in Dunedin has led to a rollout in the regions.

"It has really taken off in the last two years in Dunedin. They're very practical sessions.

"Now we want to adapt it for the rural communities."

About 210 patients were in the care of Otago Community Hospice throughout the southern regions.

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