‘We are actually about life, not just death’

Waipuna Hospice patient Baden Jury says hospice is an amazing organisation and encourages those who can to support them wherever possible. Photo: supplied.

This Hospice Awareness Week, Waipuna Hospice, in alignment with Hospice NZ, is highlighting the critical need for increased awareness of hospice care.

Despite its invaluable benefits, a significant portion of New Zealanders are not accessing hospice services due to fear, misconceptions, locality and limited understanding.

Hospice NZ chief executive Wayne Naylor highlights the urgency of the situation: “A third of the people who die in New Zealand receive hospice care, but many miss out.

“Last year around 90 per cent of people with a foreseeable death – about 34,000 – could have benefitted from palliative care, but only 10,800 of them took advantage of the services and support that hospice provides.”

Wayne believes fear and a misunderstanding of what hospice care is are stopping people from accessing hospice care when they need it.

To showcase the transformative impact of hospice care, Hospice NZ, supported by Waipuna Hospice, is launching a campaign featuring real-life stories of patients and their families.

Waipuna Hospice CEO Richard Thurlow says: “We are actually about life, not just death.

“People often think we are only there for those final moments, but the earlier people access hospice, the better.

"Whether that’s months or even years, getting the benefits of the wrap-around physical, social, spiritual, and emotional support means patients get to live fully until they die.”

Waipuna Hospice patient Baden Jury is one of four people sharing their experiences with hospice during Hospice Awareness Week.

Their stories reflect on how hospice provides not just medical support but emotional comfort and invaluable guidance during one of life’s most challenging phases.

All types of support 

Waipuna Hospice delivers vital palliative support services, information and advocacy.

They provide care and support for patients’ physical needs and emotional, spiritual and social needs.

This includes providing respite care, practical support such as meal preparation, loan equipment, chaplaincy service and spiritual support, counselling, child and adolescent support, social work, biography services, caregiver support, occupational therapy, education, books and resources, and therapeutic massage.

Waipuna Hospice also supports family and friends both before and after a loved one dies. Baden says:

“Everybody here [at Waipuna Hospice] is just so amazing.

"From my point of view, when you come to Waipuna Hospice, you know you’re going to get treated well because their care is just incredible – I couldn’t fault it.

"Given it’s a charity, the quality of everything, even the people, is amazing.”

Rely on fundraising 

Richard says his hospice’s mission is “to provide compassionate care and support to individuals, families and whānau facing death and dying”.

“For us, it’s a privilege to be able to walk alongside families and help them navigate what is often an extremely difficult journey.

But we can’t do it alone.

"While our service is provided at no cost for those who need it, it costs a lot to deliver,” says Richard.

“We must rely on fundraising, and the generosity of our community to ensure we can continue delivering our vital care.

"It’s that generosity that keeps us going, making sure everyone gets the care and respect they deserve.

“We know times are tough for a lot of people, but any support you can give us, whether that’s financial or comes in the form of a donation to our charity shops or through volunteering your time to help, we thank you,” says Richard.

Waipuna Hospice volunteers will be out collecting donations at supermarkets and shopping centres across Tauranga and Western BOP from May 13-19. Visit: https://www.waipunahospice.org.nz

You may also like....