Hospice shops open for awareness week

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Welcoming customers . . . Pleased to be back at the newly reopened Vogel St Hospice Shop are (from left) volunteers Viv Coffey and Philly O'Neill, and Otago Community Hospice development and engagement manager Becs Wilson. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

As the country settles in to the freedoms and restrictions of Covid-19 Alert Level 2, the Otago Community Hospice has reopened its hospice shops across Otago.

Dunedin’s Vogel St and Mosgiel Hospice Shops have been open all this week, along with stores in Milton, Cromwell and Alexandra, running on reduced hours and with a smaller-than-usual volunteer workforce.

The Hospice Shop in Oamaru has opened today.

Otago Community Hospice development and engagement manager Becs Wilson said the organisation was “thrilled” to be able to reopen the shops, albeit under restrictions.

“Our staff and volunteers are pleased to be back, our customers are happy, and it has been nice to see familiar faces,” Ms Wilson said.

“All of our shops have restricted hours, limits on customer numbers, and cleaning protocols.

“We want to do everything right and keep people safe.”

While the shops were accepting donated goods, they must be clean and good quality, and were kept quarantined for three days before being handled.

Having the six hospice shops across the region open again was very important for the Otago Community Hospice, as they brought in one-third of the funds the hospice must raise each year to cover the cost of its services, Ms Wilson said.

“They are very important to us.”

Along with reopening its retail stores, the Otago Community Hospice is also celebrating Hospice Awareness Week, May 18 to 24, under Level 2 restrictions.

Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said staff were entering awareness week with some new freedoms around community service provision, including high priority home visits.

“our team are always in the community caring for our vulnerable patient and family population, so having to provide that care from afar has been tough,” Ms Green said.

“And although [many] of our services are still being provided virtually at Level 2, it’s good to know that those who really need us in their homes can now have us in their homes again.

“Our community team have adapted brilliantly to this new style of working from afar, but I know that many of them are looking forward to the day we can return to the face-to-face care hospice is so well known for.”

Otago Community Hospice covers the Otago region with a palliative specialist team of six doctors, 13 community care co-ordinators, three nurse practitioners, three counsellors, two social workers, two spiritual co-ordinators and kaitakawaenga (cultural workers).