An Australian healthcare organisation has named Hospice Taranaki an international leader in palliative care and awarded one nurse an opportunity to learn from its staff.
In June, a Sydney-based nurse would travel under the 2017 HammondCare Hospice NZ Palliative Care Nursing Scholarship to New Plymouth to undertake a week of experiential learning.
General Manger of Health and Hospitals for HammondCare in Australia, Stewart James, said the hospice was renowned for its care of the terminally ill.
He said the Taranaki Hospice was selected for the scholarship because of its reputation for providing culturally sensitive palliative care.
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“And its passion of community models are something that we seek to emulate here at HammondCare.”
James said the scholarship would increase the nurses’ knowledge and understanding of the best practice in palliative care.
He said there would be a special emphasis on the link between community and hospice care.
“Through this program we are giving our nurses the opportunity to develop their skills and capabilities, progress their careers and share their experience to further develop palliative care nursing within HammondCare,” he said.
“It supports our long-term goal to place us as a leader in palliative care both nationally and internationally.”
The grant recipient, Suzanne Sara, said the scholarship would provide her with a broader outlook on patient care and the opportunity to learn about how other cultures dealt with death.
“I am looking forward to meeting like-minded people who share the same passion for palliative care as me, and for the chance to witness the Tikanga guidelines of care in action.”
Hospice Taranaki chief executive Kevin Nielson said being recognised as a leader in the specialist care was a “fantastic tribute”.
He said Hospice Taranaki was a well-respected service across the country and within Hospice New Zealand.
“We’re very proud of our service,” he said.
There were 25 nurses of different skill levels who currently worked for Hospice Taranaki, which offered free inpatient and community services to people and their families living with a terminal illness.
“All nurses who join us we support them to do post graduate study in palliative care, and we have some going through that now but we have a large percentage of our staff who have post graduate qualifications.”
In addition to the credentials, Nielson said empathy was a fundamental characteristic of hospice nurses.
“Being able to relate to the patients and families who are facing end-of-life issues is a really important aspect,” he said.
New Plymouth woman Meleni Phillips has been under the care of Hospice Taranaki for the past three years.
The 47-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and has at times relied on both the inpatient and community services.
She said the nurses were nothing short of lovely and she loved staying at Te Rangimarie unit, located on David St.
“They can’t do enough for you,” she said.
“They make you feel alive.”
A second recipient of the HammondCare Hospice NZ Palliative Care Nursing Scholarship would train at the Otago Community Hospice.