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Supporting terminally ill patients & those who care for them

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It costs a lot to provide a FREE service like Hospice
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quote.gif Gabrielle has been such a wonderful help and support for many of the patients that we share care. I have only ever heard positive grateful feedback from the patients following her input. I truly do not know how she seems to be able to know exactly when to listen, when to speak and when to offer help. But she gets it right every time.
Email from a district nurse


(having a family support volunteer meant) I was able to have time out to follow my own interests and attend to errands knowing I was leaving him in good hands. This provided a change of company for him and gave me renewed energy and motivation to carry on with caring for him.
Judy, wife of a patient

Family Support

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Hospice philosophy is to affirm life both physically and emotionally

As well as supporting the patient, we support those who support the patient.

Our nurses and doctors are highly skilled medical professionals who do an excellent job of managing the complex medical symptoms that a person living with a terminal illness has to contend with. However, palliative care goes further than this.

As defined by the World Health Organisation, palliative care is a total approach to terminal illness, taking care of people's spiritual, psychological and social needs as well.

Here in the Warkworth Wellsford Community, hospice care takes place in the home. Caring for the whole family is especially important in a home hospice environment.

Our Family Support team consists of a qualified counsellor, a social worker and about 35 trained volunteers. Their focus is the respite care for the patient's caregiver and emotional support or companionship for the patient and the family.


Counselling and bereavement support

Our counsellor, Liana Meredith, will be introduced to you as soon as possible after your referral to Warkworth Wellsford Hospice. She will be able to answer any questions about the service and discuss what support might be appropriate for you.
Liana offers counselling sessions for patients and family members. Our support for the family continues into the bereavement period, with counselling available for as long as it is needed. This service, like all Warkworth Wellsford Hospice services, is provided free of charge.
The family support team will continue to monitor whether the service is meeting your needs. You can contact us at any time to talk about any changes in the service you receive.


Social support

Warkworth Wellsford  Hospice's social worker, Monica Donnelly, is available to visit you at home and discuss issues such as budgeting and finances. She can advise you about special benefits you may be eligible for, bring you forms and help you fill them in, and even talk to WINZ on your behalf.


Family support volunteers

You and your family may also be matched up with one of our specially trained volunteers.
At first, some people are reserved at having a stranger invited into their home at such a personal time and feel they have a duty to care for their loved ones alone. People need to recognise that it’s okay to ask for help. Caring for a terminally ill person takes an enormous amount of courage as well as physical and mental endurance, and the role of the family support team is to support a family wherever that support is needed. Often this takes the form of being a shoulder to cry on or being listening ears to those concerns and worries that perhaps can’t be shared with a close family member.
Dealing with their own grief as well as that of their loved ones can be difficult for many of our patients. Having that special person who they can talk to, but who is also slightly removed from the family situation, is invaluable.
It’s important that there is a good relationship between the family and their family support volunteer because  they are involved with them at a very intimate time of their lives, and much care and consideration is given to matching a patient and family with their support person. It’s also important to realise that it’s okay to ask for a different volunteer if things aren’t working out. Because of the careful matching process this doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally it has and that is perfectly okay.
Often families can manage without the support of a family support volunteer on a regular basis but feel secure in the knowledge that they can call on one if they need to.
Our volunteers are fully trained to offer support and encouragement to patients and those who are participating in the care of a person with a terminal illness in their own home. They guarantee complete confidentiality.

By allowing a Hospice Family Support Volunteer to become part of the caring circle in your home as early as possible after the referral to Hospice, a bond is formed between the caregiver, patient and volunteer. Many lasting friendships are formed this way.
Volunteers DO NOT, at any time, attempt to take the place of family members or friends. They simply offer their emotional support to all those involved.

To a Hospice Family Support Volunteer, being with you is something that they want to do; you are NOT imposing on their busy timetable.

Volunteers are there for you

They will:
  • Listen
  • Be a sounding board
  • Let you take time out when you need to
  • Talk about the things that family and friends may find difficult discussing with you
  • Be honest
  • Be helpful in a practical way. For example, running errands, collecting prescriptions, or sitting with the patient so that the caregiver can have a well earned and often much needed break

Family support volunteers are:
  • Genuine, caring and warm
  • Objective and non-judgemental
  • Respectful of others' beliefs
  • Comfortable talking about effects of illness
  • Sensitive and aware
  • Dependable and flexible
  • Have a sense of humour
 

Life Review Service

Of the many ways of finding meaning of the experiences that define a life, a life review offers one way to relate memories, express messages and put into words your hopes and dreams. A life story is a treasured gift to family and friends here now as well as for future generations. It brings a sense of accomplishment and acceptance of the events in a persons life.
Over a series of visits, a trained volunteer, allocated as a biographer, will record the story which may include poems, favourite quotes and photographs.  The completed story is then bound and given to the patient or family.

For Further Information on these services please contact

Liana Meredith
Family Support Service
PO Box 517
51 Woodcocks Rd
Warkworth

Ph 425 9535
email: liana.meredith@hospicehouse.org.nz

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