The vast majority of Otago Community Hospice patients receive specialist palliative care in their own environment — whether that be at home, in a rest home or in hospital level care — and will never need to be admitted to our Inpatient Unit. This is the main reason why the entire Otago region is able to be serviced by one relatively small Inpatient Unit.
There are two ways we achieve this. Firstly, we provide advice, support and education to people who provide palliative care as part of their work (such as hospital staff, GPs, district nurses and residential home staff) to assist them to care for their patients. Our support and education services often mean these 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.
Secondly, we have Community Care Coordinators (CCCs) who coordinate the care of patients on the hospice programme. Our CCCs are all specialists in Palliative Care and are supported by regular visits from our specialist doctors and counsellors and they have access to the wider multi-professional team based at the hospice which includes a social worker, an occupational therapist and a spiritual care coordinator. Together, our community care teams provide:
- specialist assessment of patients and advice to patients, family/whanau and the patients main care giver – e.g. GP
- care coordination and ongoing monitoring of patient (and family) needs
- 24/7 telephone advice from a nurse or doctor if required
- night carers who can provide overnight care for a short period, helping people to remain in their own homes
- bereavement support for the family/whanau
- education for patients and carers through our Kowhai programme