Hospice expands

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 07:40 14/12/2012
Judy Boon
CIARA PRATT
GOOD NEWS: Judy Boon, pictured with a photo of her late daughter Anita Boo,n is relieved Hospice West Auckland will have specialist beds next year.

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Patients and families dealing with serious and terminal illnesses will no longer have to travel far for specialist care.

Hospice West Auckland will get a two-bed specialised care unit early next year, allowing the medical facility to help treat seriously ill patients on site.

Patients and families have had to travel to the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast for hospice care because there are no urgent respite or specialist facilities in Waitakere.

Hospice West Auckland chief executive Barbara Williams says the new two-bed unit is a positive development for the hospice.

"The aim has always been to have a specialised care unit in West Auckland," she says.

"While this has been difficult for us to achieve for many reasons, we think the two-bed facility is a great step towards our goal of a bigger purpose-built unit in the future."

West Auckland Hospice house on Beach Rd facility in Te Atatu Peninsula is used for day programmes, clinics, support therapies and community palliative care.

Judy Boon experienced hospice services first-hand when her daughter Anita Boon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008.

Ms Boon's daughter was only 36 years old when she died from the aggressive cancer in September 2009.

Anita was a well-known professional golf player in New Zealand.

"Hospice gave us counselling and any support we wanted. Without them we would have been lost and had no-one to turn to."

During her illness Anita spent time in both North Shore and Auckland hospitals - where she later died.

There were no hospice inpatient bed services in West Auckland at that time and Ms Boon says her daughter did not want to die in a hospital.

"Anita had built up a lovely relationship with a hospice nurse and wanted her to be with her at the end.

"If you have got hospice beds where hospice nurses can work with the same person, then you have that same familiar person caring for you which gives you continuity and makes you feel secure."

The Massey resident says the 24-hour care and support was invaluable for Anita and for the family after her death. "They were there with us right to the end," Ms Boon says.

"I don't know how I would have coped if I had to travel to North Shore all the time - you want to spend the maximum time with your person."

Mrs Williams says the new unit will not take long to set up.

"The renovations in the building for our two-bed unit are due to commence early in the new year. It is proposed that the building will take four to six weeks to complete," she says.

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Eventually Hospice West Auckland plans to build a dedicated 10-bed inpatient unit.

The first step will be to find and secure two hectares of land in the area.

- Western Leader

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