Covid-19 Responce at Hospice Waikato


For Health Professionals, please CLICK HERE

Hospice Waikato Services and COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

It is very important to us that we protect the wellbeing of Hospice Waikato's patients and their family members, as well as our staff and volunteers. Because of the current risks related the COVID-19 virus, we need to make changes to how we provide many of our services. Some services will change or reduce, and others will stop.

Here’s an update on what we’re doing -
Hospice Waikato is closely monitoring our own staff, ensuring appropriate screening of staff is being done, and strictly enforcing all Ministry of Health guidance on infection control and hygiene.

Hospice Waikato will be maintaining a telephone / telemedicine advice service.
• Main phone line (07) 859 1260 – this number will be answered by Reception Staff from 8:00am to 5:00pm and after hours by a Registered Nurse.

Visiting is closed except for named immediate family to a maximum of 1 visitor per patient at any time
The In-Patient Unit is still operating, but we are only admitting patients with complex symptom management issues or for end of life care that cannot be managed at home.

• Only one nominated visitor per patient
• Visitors must stay in the room with the patient - not move around the building
• Once you leave the Hospice site you cannot return into the building
• NO Children under 18 onsite

You will be contacted before any visit to check if there is any risk of exposure to COVID-19. If there is a risk, the visit can still happen if essential, but staff will be required to wear special protective equipment.

Rather than doing all visits in-person, our staff will be doing more telephone calls and, if possible, video calls with patients and clients. Your Hospice Nurse, Doctor or Family Services Team member will discuss the best way of staying in contact with you.

We will be doing our very best to ensure any patient or family member who needs an in-person visit will have a Hospice staff member visit them.

All Hospice Waikato Outpatient Clinics have stopped.

These groups have stopped until further notice.

Individual support (counselling, social work, spiritual care) will continue but will be by phone or video call.

If you are visiting our premises, Please DO NOT enter if:
• You are unwell (for any reason).
• Have been out of New Zealand within the last 14 days prior to your planned visit.
• Have been in contact with anyone who has been out of New Zealand within the last 14 days.
• Have had close contact with anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Anyone visiting Hospice Waikato will be asked to sign in and complete a COVID-19 screening checklist.

And remember, you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following these steps:
• Cover your coughs or sneezes with tissues or your elbow.
• Put your used tissue in the rubbish bin or in a plastic bag.
• Wash and dry your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing – using soap or hand sanitiser.
• And as noted above, stay away from others if you’re unwell.

Reducing contact with viruses is especially important for people who are vulnerable to infection

If you have one or more of the medical conditions listed above, we recommend taking extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people:

• Stay at home as much as possible.
• Make sure your flu vaccination for 2020 is up to date. These will be available from 02 April 2020.
• Make sure you have access to several weeks of medication supplies in case you need to stay at home for an extended period of time.
• When you go out in public, keep away from anyone who is sick, limit close contact with other people and wash your hands often.
• Carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser in places where you can’t easily wash your hands.
• If you live with a person who is self-isolating look at alternative accommodation arrangements where possible.
• Avoid crowds as much as possible.
• Avoid shared/public transportation if possible - use a car or taxi.

If you, or your family member, become sick, contact Healthline or your doctor

Contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453, or your GP if you begin to feel sick.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are high temperature (at or over 38oC) or any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following: shortness of breath, cough or sore throat with or without fever.

Do not contact Hospice as they are not able to offer COVID-19 advice or screening.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 developments in New Zealand on the Ministry of Health CLICK HERE

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation
Stay safe, stay well and look out for each other

Last Updated: 27/03/2020

Covid-19 Information for Funerals & Tangi

To stop the spread of COVID-19, gathering together for public funerals and tangihanga is not permitted while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.

This applies to all deceased persons, regardless of when and where they died, or the cause of death.

It includes public gatherings at burials, cremations, memorial services, funeral wakes, processions or receptions and social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors.

We must protect people’s health and ensure our health system can look after New Zealanders who become sick.
Bereaved families and whānau from all cultures and backgrounds will find this time challenging. This makes it even more important to show each other kindness and caring, manaakitanga and aroha.

Only registered funeral directors may handle deceased persons
A registered funeral director must be engaged to carry out the functions of burial or cremation and transporting a deceased person in New Zealand. Families or communities must not carry out burials, cremations or transportation of deceased persons without engaging a registered funeral director.

Funeral services
During Alert Level 4, public funeral services are not permitted. Families or communities must not carry out funerals.

Funeral directors are encouraged to carry out burials and cremations as quickly as possible. However, this is not always possible. You may want to offer your families and whānau other options, including:
• holding the funeral or tangihanga after the Alert Level 4 restrictions ease. Bear in mind that we don’t know when that might be and there might be practical or cultural reasons why this is not an option
• live streaming or providing photos of the service and/or burial
• cremating the deceased and burying the ashes at a later date
• holding a memorial service later, when restrictions on gatherings are lifted and it is safe to do so

Grief Support

In this unprecedented national situation, not being able to have a funeral, tangi or farewell gathering for a loved one or friend is extremely distressing and painful. It seems all wrong. However, until such time as restrictions are lifted and gatherings are possible again, it’s unfortunately part of the new normal in New Zealand. This lockdown time will eventually pass, but in the meantime your Funeral Director can let you know about the options available for the care of your loved one right now. They can also discuss with you options for gatherings to honour the person’s life at a later date.

Although a lot is out of your control right now, there are still some things you could choose to do to honour and farewell your loved one or friend while you are in isolation. Some of the following ideas might be helpful at this time.
Remember, everyone is different, and we are all isolated in different circumstances right now.

Download the FDANZ COVID-19 Grief Resource and adapt the ideas as you need to.

There are also many organisations that offer help and support for grief and trauma ranging from resources, counselling and support groups. Contact details for these organisations here:

What to expect - likely processes for body/tupapaku collection and care:

1. Phone call to check anybody present has had the opportunity to say their goodbyes as FD may require the room/facility to be vacated when they transfer the body/tupapaku into their care.

2. FD staff will don PPE when they arrive and they will maintain social distancing, prepare family for this. A facemask may be placed on the deceased. This is because air can be exhaled as we transfer onto our stretcher.

3. Viewing of the deceased will not be available while we are at alert level 4.

4. Arrangements to organise direct Burials, Cremations or Delayed Accommodation – this may vary by FD, but it is likely only one person will be able to go to the funeral home to organise these proceedings, this should be an executor or next of kin who has the authority to sign all the legal paperwork required. In some circumstances the FD may be able to do all of the arrangements via phone or Skype.

5. Embalming and climate control: Some people may prefer for their deceased family member to remain in the FD care at the funeral home through embalming and climate control. With this option a funeral in a casket may still take place when gatherings are permitted again.

Additional information

Burial/Cremation: Burials and cremations will still be taking place however family and public may not be present. Only 2 funeral directors may be present with Council staff when this takes place.

Memorial Service: Recommendation is that if someone dies while we are under alert level 4, family should talk to Funeral Director about arranging a delayed memorial service. Burial or cremation will take place in the days shortly following death.

Last Updated: 31/03/2020