Palliative Care

Palliative Care

Palliative care supports people and their family/whānau who are dealing with life-threatening illness and helps them to live as comfortably as possible. By ‘life-threatening’ we mean those conditions that can’t be cured and may at some time result in the person dying, be that years, months, weeks or days away.

Sometimes palliative care will also be provided while someone is receiving treatment that attempts to cure their illness. This can be to help with pain or other symptoms.

A palliative care approach aims to improve quality of life by addressing social, psychological and spiritual needs as well as physical needs such as managing pain and other distressing symptoms.

Palliative care is provided by all health care professionals such as general practitioners, hospital doctors, nurses, social workers and residential care facility staff supported, where necessary, by specialist palliative care services.

The specialist palliative care services in Lakes DHB region are:

• Rotorua Community Hospice
Phone (07) 343 6591

• Lake Taupo Hospice
Phone (07)377 4252

The specialist services have an important role in providing clinical care as well as supportive services and education of others caring for people who are dying. They work in partnership with the person’s own doctor to provide extra support for the person and their family/whānau.

For Further information see:

Grief and Loss Services in Lakes DHB region (click to open up document)


New Palliative Care Service Directory for Lakes DHB Region

A new Adult Palliative Care Service Directory has been developed to help raise awareness and understanding of palliative care and the services available within the Lakes district.

The service directory is intended to be a resource for people with illnesses and their family/whānau, as well as for general practice staff and other health professionals and organisations, such as hospital ward staff, residential care facilities and Māori provider services. The compilation and listing of the directory on Lakes DHB’s website helps plug a critical gap in information to explain palliative care, the specialist services available for Lakes residents and how to access these.

The development of a service directory follows the adoption of the Lakes Adult Palliative Care Service Plan for 2011-16, in July 2012. The service plan was developed with support from the Midland Cancer Network working closely with Rotorua and Lake Taupo Hospice services, Planning and Funding, representatives from the DHB and hospitals as well as other community organisations.

In order to ensure the recommendations in the service plan are addressed, a Lakes Palliative Care Work Group has been established. The group first met in early August 2012 and continues to meet every second month.

The purpose of the work group is to provide ongoing input into the planning of palliative care services and to take a leadership role in the implementation of the Lakes Adult Palliative Care Service Plan. This brings together both Rotorua and Taupo stakeholders and formalises relationships with primary and specialist palliative care providers as well as the community.

Work group membership includes representatives of DHB and hospital services, Hospices in Taupo and Rotorua, primary care organisations representing GPs, residential care facilities and a range of other interested community based organisations such as Aroha Mai and Te Arawa Whānau Ora.

Lakes DHB Physician Dr Denise Aitken chairs the work group with support from Vanessa Russell (Planning and Funding) and Midland Cancer Network. Dr Aitken says the group members are energetic and enthusiastic participants who are committed to improving services for patients requiring palliative care in Lakes.

Each year the work group prioritises activities from the service plan that they will work on. In the period July 2012 to July 2013 some key priorities of the workgroup have been:

• Continued development of the visiting palliative medicine specialist services in Rotorua (Waikato visiting specialist)

• to increase medical specialist assessment, advice and education for GPs and patients in the community \

• to increase specialist support and education within the hospital

• Implementation of a new model of care in Taupo - transitioning from shared care by Lake Taupo Hospice and district nurses to full Hospice community nursing

• Delivery of the Fundamentals of Palliative Care education programme across the Lakes DHB region, particularly for residential care staff

• Strengthening of relationships between community based organisations caring for people with palliative needs and the DHB services

• Accessing topic specific education for hospice clinical staff

• Development of the palliative care service directory

• Scoping access to grief and loss services in Lakes