Date: 5 November 2008
Subject: Palliative care service working well
Kahukura, Wairarapa’s new service for caring for people who are terminally ill and their families has completed its
first two months with strong demand.
Since it began on 1 September, the service has cared for 66 patients and their families referred by GPs, physicians,
community nurses and other health professionals.
Kahukura spokesperson, Maggie Morgan, said the service was caring for people with a wide variety of illnesses and
prognoses. “The numbers of people receiving care now are higher than they were when separate services provided
palliative care,” said Mrs Morgan. “This indicates that gaps have been filled with more people receiving the care they
need, regardless of their illness.”
Mrs Morgan said families had been appreciative of the service and the feedback received by staff had been extremely
positive. “The benefits of a range of health providers working under one umbrella are now being seen along with closer
working relationships between the palliative care team, community nurses and medical practices.”
“For example, a patient was seen by the service’s specialist Te Omanga doctor at the Martinborough Medical Centre which
enabled joint planning with the patient’s GP and community nurse. Staff have been well-placed to support patients in
remote rural areas who have chosen to be cared for at home.”
Whaiora chief executive, Hone Hurihanganui, said Whaiora palliative care clients were now receiving holistic care along
with a range of other services Whaiora provides that were tailored to their needs. “We remain intimately connected with
the client and their family or whānau and our team of Kaikōkiri – Champions of Wellness, work alongside Kahukura to
ensure the best for people with terminal illness. The response time is excellent – we had a client seeing the service’s
specialist within 48 hours of being embraced by the care that the cloak of Kahukura provides,” he said.
Lead GP for Kahukura, Dr Nick Crozier, said since while GPs had always been involved in palliative care, the new service
was bringing greater coordination between general practice, the Wairarapa DHB and residential care facilities. “GPs are
becoming more involved with patient care and have been enthusiastic in their uptake of training which is ongoing,” said
Training sessions supported by Arohanui Hospice get underway this week for local general practice teams. Members of the
local palliative care team including a social worker, pharmacist, occupational therapist, and spiritual and cultural
advisors will assist with the training.
Mrs Morgan said now that the palliative care service was up and running, it was now looking to strengthen ties with the
community through a reference group which would have input into its ongoing development.
Mrs Morgan said a range of voluntary and non-government organisations had been invited to nominate representatives for
the group which would act as a link between Kahukura and the wider community. “We are looking for two more community
members on the group and would welcome expressions of interest from people who would like to contribute.”
She said the community reference group would also help decide how donated funds or bequests to the service would be
used. “A number of bequests have already been made which are held separately in a dedicated account and will be used to
directly benefit patients and their families.”
“While the Wairarapa DHB funds essential palliative care services such as community nursing, specialist medical
consultations, social work and inpatient care, there are always extras that can make a difference to people’s quality of
life,” said Mrs Morgan. “Donations and bequests to Kahukura will help make these extras such as air mattresses, lazy-boy
chairs, carer relief, and extra home help, freely available to those who need them. They are in addition to a range of
supports already provided by community and voluntary groups.”
Kahukura is a partnership between the Wairarapa District Health Board, the Wairarapa Community PHO and Te Omanga Hospice
in Lower Hutt. It is affiliated with Palmerston North’s Arohanui Hospice for education.
The service provides a range of general and specialist community palliative care services to patients and their
families, at no cost, when and where they need them. GPs and Wairarapa DHB community nurses work with patients living at
home and are supported by local specialist nurses and Te Omanga Hospice medical specialists. Other professionals work
with doctors and nurses to help meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of patients and their families. They
include occupational therapists, social workers, counsellors, pharmacists, clergy and Maori health workers.
Kahukura is based at 48 Lincoln Road Masterton and can be contacted on 370 8436. Expressions of interest for membership
of the Kahukura Community Reference Group or enquires about donations and bequests to Kahukura can be made to Maggie
Morgan on 06 370 8436 or firstname.lastname@example.org