Grant starts hospice year of fundraising

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Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green is on a high after a “tremendous grant” helped to launch a new year of fundraising for the organisation.

Last month, the hospice received a $90,000 grant from the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation, a boost to efforts to raise $2.5million this financial year.

“This is the most generous grant we have received in the past five years, and will be a huge contribution towards supporting our growing outreach – the services delivered by our Community Care Co-ordinators throughout Otago,” Ms Green said.

Each year, the Otago Community Hospice receives 57% of its funding through government contracts, with the rest raised through grants, events, service clubs, business and private donations, and about one-third via the Hospice Shops.

All hospice services are provided free to up to 500 patients and their families in Dunedin and Otago each year.

Its community care co-ordinators, seven in Dunedin and five across rural areas, work with patients in their homes to ensure they get the support they need.

At any given time, there are 180 to 210 patients in the community care programme.

“This work speaks to the fact that the vast majority of the work of the hospice is done in the community,” Ms Green said.

The hospice usually had about half a dozen in-patients at a time, who had an average length of stay of nine days.

Patients generally came into the hospice for symptom management, or to have medication adjusted.

“Patients are very keen to return home, because that is the place where most people want to be and feel most comfortable.”

Ms Green said the purpose-built facility in Northeast Valley, which had been home to the hospice since 2001, had stood up well to the passage of time.

There were issues though, like the building’s “sun-trap” nature, which needed a cooling system to counteract it to be installed.

“In a hot summer, the heat really impacts on staff and patients.”