Otago Community Hospice provides community-based specialist palliative care and support to people who are dying where their needs are beyond the level able to be provided by primary palliative care providers alone (such as a GP or District Nurse). All of our services are provided free of charge. We support our patients where ever they want to be, and for most of them, that’s at home. We aim to keep people in their environment, symptom-free, for as long as possible. Otago Community Hospice is a teaching facility with strong relationships with the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic.

Our Vision

To support and empower all people who are dying in Otago, to live well and die well.

We will do this by:

  • Caring for our community
  • Developing the capability of people
  • Providing leadership
  • Building a sustainable and resilient organisation
  • Raising awareness

Access to Services

Otago residents can access our services if:

  1. They are assessed as having a diagnosis of a life limiting illness (cancer or non-cancer), with little or no prospect of cure, and death is the likely outcome, be that hours, days, weeks, months or sometimes years away. 
  2. The person has palliative care needs beyond the level that are able to be provided by the primary palliative care providers alone.
  3. The person is a family member, whanau, or carer needing grief and loss support/counselling and will have needs that are beyond those able to be provided by primary palliative care providers alone.
  4. They are a primary palliative care provider requiring education, support and advice. For further information regarding the education service see Education Service Outline.

We have a team of Community Care Coordinators (CCCs) who coordinate the care of patients on the hospice programme. Specialist community care coordination is an integral part of our service. It complements the work of primary palliative care providers and ensures our patients:

  • Remain at the centre of care
  • Maintain control
  • Exercise choice
  • Are looked after in their preferred place of care where possible
  • Are linked appropriately with multiple care agencies

Our CCCs work with the wider multiprofessional team (MPT) of doctors, nurses, counsellors, a spiritual care worker and a social worker to deliver community services including:

  • Assessment, monitoring and follow-up with patient and family/whanau
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Home visits
  • Telephone advice and support for patients, families and primary palliative care providers
  • Education for patients and carers through our Kowhai programme
  • Education for health and social service professionals
  • Night care in the patients own home
  • Bereavement support for the family/whanau

Inpatient admission

In most cases, patients on the hospice programme will never need to be admitted to our Inpatient Unit. This is primarily due to the level of specialist care we are able to deliver in the community. We also provide support and education to primary palliative care providers (such as hospital staff, GPs and district nurses) to assist them, when required, to care for their patients. Our support and education services often means primary palliative care providers can do more for their patients which, in turn, means hospital and hospice admissions are less likely to be required and patients can be cared for in their own environment. For some patients whose needs are complex admission to the hospice Inpatient Unit in Dunedin may be necessary but this course of care is not typical. 70% of patients on the Hospice programme will not require admission to the Inpatient Unit.


Our services are provided free of charge to anyone who is dying and whose palliative care needs are beyond the level that are able to be supported by their primary palliative care provider alone. To run our service, we receive contracted income from the Southern District Health Board which covers approximately 62% of our annual costs. The other funding requirements, which is close to $2 million, is generated through our community fundraising efforts. We have seven hospice shops throughout the Otago region and we rely heavily on these and our donation and bequest programme to generate income. We also run events throughout the year along with regular mail outs for our database of supporters.


Otago Community Hospice is a registered charity.
Charity No. CC20590