Demand for hospice services growing

Popular NZ broadcaster Peter Williams.

The demand for Waipuna Hospice services is growing more rapidly than ever and the community is being called upon to help.

That was one of the key messages delivered last night at the launch of a Waipuna for Tomorrow campaign.

The launch, organised by the hospice's foundation board, was largely attended by those involved in assisting the public with wills and estate planning.

Popular NZ broadcaster Peter Williams, who has come on board as the voice of the campaign, told those gathered that it was time to raise awareness of the very real need for the community to support hospice services not only for today, but for tomorrow.

Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow says Waipuna Hospice has more patients than ever, and the need is only going to keep growing to an "overwhelming level".

He says Waipuna Hospice has a history of continually attempting to find new and innovative ways to care for patients within the same cost structure. But, forecasted growth - with a potential to "overwhelm our future" - brings with it a need to look closely and hard at what can be done to ensure Waipuna Hospice can continue to provide specialist palliative care.

The District Health Board currently provides about 58 per cent of Waipuna Hospice's total operational funding. This means Waipuna Hospice needs to raise (from July 1, 2017) $2.7 million per year over and above what it is paid by the District HB. That equates to $53,000 per week.

“Without any commitment of increased DHB funding comes the need to raise more funds to handle growing demand, via a community already highly engaged in raising funds for Waipuna Hospice,” says Richard.

Waipuna Hospice Foundation Board chairman Bruce Cameron says indications are that one in three people in our community will need end-of-life hospice care.

“The Waipuna Hospice Foundation needs contributions from this community to ensure that Hospice services are there, when the need is there. We are reliant on the goodwill of our community today, to protect the provision of free Hospice services for tomorrow.

“We are calling on individuals to make provision in their wills, bequeathing funds and assets or by making one-off or multi-year financial gifts to the Foundation during their lifetime. Just as others have done for us, it is now our turn to pay it forwards,” he says.

He urges people to refer to the website.

Waipuna Hospice's retiring fundraising manager Trish Rae told those gathered that it was as if a “perfect storm” were brewing.

The district is faced with continued major population growth and an increased aging demographic. Plus, patients seen over the last decade are more complex and often have more than one serious illness which involves “incredible” medical and nursing skills to manage.

Richard says the harsh reality is that Waipuna Hospice will be faced with increased pressure on services that can't grow in line with the need, due to current financial realities.

“The Hospice continues to try to help itself through the establishment of its second-hand shops; and its services are only possible thanks to the support of local trusts and the generosity of the community,” Richard says.

The campaign launch also provided the opportunity to announce that Peter Williams is an official Waipuna Hospice supporter, and to announce the two new foundation board members. They are Port of Tauranga corporate services manager Sara Lunam and Tauranga Plumbing owner Craig McCord.


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