Hospice gets govt funding top-up

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014
 Hospice Marlborough
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

CASH BOOST: Hospice Marlborough will get more than $100,000 in Ministry of Health funding. General manager of palliative care services Judith Delebeke and specialised nurse Lyn Naysmith pictured with i-Pads which are being piloted with patients to ‘‘Facetime’’ nurse specialists.

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A funding boost to Hospice Marlborough has come as a welcome relief as the number of palliative patients being cared for increases by 25 per cent, the general manager says.

The Ministry of Health has promised around $650,000 to be split between Hospice Marlborough and Nelson Tasman Hospice as part of a $20 million national funding package.

Hospice Marlborough palliative care services general manager Judith Delebeke said the grant was population based but she expected the hospice would receive more than $100,000.

Hospice Marlborough's palliative care service treats 100 patients receiving end-of-life care.

Funding will be used in the running of the hospice, home to a six-bed inpatient unit, day programme, home-based and rest home care.

Delebeke said the boost would reduce demand on the Marlborough Hospice Trust which contributes 30 per cent of the hospice running costs through community fundraising.

"There is a sense of relief that it reduces some pressure. I am concerned in the years to come we will need more than $450,000 annually from the trust. Within human resources, wage bills are increasing and the DHB funding not being increased to match that [expenditure]. It is all about a balancing act. We are not flush with money."

The funding was timely as an ageing population sees palliative care in Marlborough continue to grow, Delebeke said.

In the last two years the number of patients have increased from 75 to 100.

Sixty per cent were cancer patients, 20 per cent had cardiac and respiratory conditions and the remaining had motor neurone disease or other life-limiting illnesses.

The money will also go towards technological innovations within the hospice.

During a month-long pilot five i-Pads have been distributed to patients in rural areas and to Ashwood Park and Springlands rest homes.

Palliative patients in the community are able to "facetime" a nurse specialist in the hospice available round-the-clock.

"Facetime is important in tackling social isolation. Some patients live up to one hour away in outlying areas. By being able to see and talk to a nurse it can reduce their fears about their medical condition. These participants are not tech savvy but all coped really well."

Delebeke said i-Pads would not be used to reduce nurse community visits. The cash will also help an electronic patient management system go live in one month.

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- The Marlborough Express

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