Frequently Asked Questions


What is Hospice Waikato?
Hospice Waikato provides a variety of specialised care services for people with a terminal illness – supporting them, their families and carers through illness, death and bereavement. Hospice is a Charitable Trust founded in 1981 independent of any other organisation and administered by a Board of Trustees. Hospice Waikato is financially supported by the Waikato District Health Board and through the generosity of individuals, community groups, businesses, trusts and foundations and the wider community.

What does “Hospice” mean?
Hospice is a philosophy of care which focuses on supporting the needs of people who have a life-limiting (or terminal) illness. The concept of Hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, Hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded or dying. The original name ‘Hospice’ means “A place of rest for weary travellers”.

The modern concept of Hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill in hospitals, nursing homes, institutions and in the community. Many of the foundational principles by which modern Hospice services operate were pioneered in the 1950's by Dame Cicely Saunders.

What is palliative care?
It is the care provided for people who have reached a stage in their illness is terminal. Palliative care services are aimed at improving the quality of life for the person and their family/whānau. Palliative care aims to neither hasten or postpone death.

What is specialist palliative care?
Specialist palliative care teams work in a consultative role with general practitioners and other health care providers when the patients needs cannot be met by primary care teams, across a range of health care services from hospitals, hospice care, or in the community such as home or rest home care.

Who qualifies for Hospice Waikato care?
Hospice Waikato services are for people who have reached a palliative stage in their illness and their physical and psychological symptoms are complex and their primary care team cannot adequately manage them.

How can I get Hospice Waikato care?
Patients may be referred by their GP, Medical Specialist or other health provider. Patients (or their family/whānau) can contact us directly, or ask their doctor, health professional or hospital ward to refer them.

Do I still see my GP?
Yes. Your GP is still your primary health care provider. Hospice Waikato works closely with your GP and other health care providers, such as District Nurses and specialists.

Does Hospice provide prescriptions?
No, your GP will continue to prescribe your medication. However, our nurses will communicate with your GP, where required, regarding your medications.

What sort of family support services does Hospice Waikato provide?
Hospice Waikato provides social services support, family support, bereavement support, and counselling.

Does Hospice Waikato have Inpatient beds?
Yes, we have 11 beds available for symptom management and on occasion respite and end of life care.

Where do patients and their families receive care?
Most of our care is given in the comfort of your own home or rest home. Our Inpatient Unit is available on an assessment of needs basis for symptom management, end of life care and respite care as space allows.

If a patient goes into a Hospice as an Inpatient, is this because they are going to die?
No. People go into Hospice for many reasons including respite care and symptom management. Often a short stay can be enormously beneficial in helping with medication management and improving quality of life.

Is it possible to be discharged from Hospice care?
Hospice provides a specialist level of care. When symptoms and problems are well controlled some patients may be referred back to their GP or other health provider.

How long is the usual duration of Hospice care?
There is no correct answer here, as it depends on how soon patients are referred to us. Sadly, some people are in our care for a very short time, and others are with us for a year.

Do I need to pay for Hospice care?
All Hospice services are provided at no charge to patients and their families/whānau.

How is Hospice funded?
A portion of our funding comes through the Waikato District Health Board. The remainder needs to be fundraised through donations, grants, income from our Hospice shops, events and sponsorship. Hospice Waikato needs to raise around $3.5 million annually to continue to provide our services to the people of the Greater Waikato region.

What happens to money I give to Hospice Waikato?
Donations received are applied directly to service provision. These donations go to the general or operating fund which helps to cover day-to-day real expenses, such as keeping cars and medical equipment serviced.

What if I leave money in my Will to Hospice Waikato?
Money given through legacies is invested in the Hospice Foundation. The Foundation's objective is to generate sufficient funding for the maintenance of Hospice buildings, to finance building development and to provide a contingency reserve.

What happens if I cannot manage at home?
We will help to enhance your homecare or we will help you and your family to explore alternatives.

What happens if I have to go to a rest home?
If you move to a rest home, our Hospice Community Care service will continue to visit you and remain in contact with your family.

Do you just care for older patients?
We care for people of all ages. Our patients have ranged in age from 10 days to 102 years.

I have more questions. How do I find the answers?
Every person is unique and will have questions specific to their personal situation. Please phone 0800 HOSPICE or 07 859 1260, we would be happy to answer any more specific questions.