Health providers ready for influx

Hospice to launch home-based care

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 16/09/2013
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Reuters
An elderly man gets help to drink a glass of syrup.

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Hospice Taranaki is steadying itself for an impending "silver tsunami" about to hit medical providers in the region.

Taranaki's leading palliative care organisation is dealing with growing numbers of elderly people and is about to launch a new phase of home-based care for Stratford, Opunake and Patea.

Community palliative care patients there will receive home-based care from Hospice Taranaki specialist nurses next month. The service was previously provided by district health board nurses.

The change will bring Stratford, Opunake and Patea in line with the home nursing service provided in North and South Taranaki.

Hospice Taranaki chief executive Kevin Nielsen said palliative care was increasingly complex with a growing number of people who needed care. "The ageing population is certainly a major challenge for Taranaki and indeed New Zealand. Unfortunately, across the board the numbers for palliative care are increasing.

"It's going to be a push until the baby boomers are through the system," he said.

In the past 12 months the number of Taranaki people needing hospice palliative care has increased by 7 per cent. Over the next 15 to 20 years these numbers will continue to rise.

"In these areas of Taranaki the increase has been even greater and this has resulted in the need for a consistent and equitable model of care," he said.

"Hospice has appreciated the district nursing service's presence in these areas and we are working closely with the DHB and the nurses to ensure a seamless transition for patients and staff."

The initiative will add two new palliative care nurses to the Hospice Taranaki staff base and will ensure all people across the province receive the same care.

"The only impact will be positive and patients and their families will have more access to specialist knowledge," Mr Nielsen said.

Taranaki DHB clinical services manager Gill Campbell believed the change would be beneficial to all patients. "A positive step forward for the service, it will see a more consistent approach to palliative care across the whole of Taranaki."

In March it was announced Hospice New Zealand would receive more than $300,000 extra funding over the next two years to help improve the care and support of the terminally ill people and their families. Part of that had been earmarked to ensure hospices could continue to meet the needs of every New Zealander, regardless of where they live.

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