Important Information for Health Professionals Regarding Services Provided by Hospice Waikato

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 have had to make changes to how we provide many of our services. These changes are temporary.

Here’s an update on what we are doing at Alert Level 2.

Referrals should be sent as normal and these are reviewed each weekday morning unless urgent, in which case it is advisable to phone Hospice and discuss the referral with the Community SMO or Community Clinical Nurse Manager.

Hospice Waikato will be maintaining a telephone / telemedicine advice service.
• Main phone line (07) 859 1260 to speak with a registered nurse or palliative medicine doctor – this number will be answered Mon-Fri, 8:00 to 17:00, by reception staff and after hours by a registered nurse.
• Fax (07) 859 1266
• Palliative care SMO on-call: via Waikato Hospital switchboard (07) 839 8899
• Hospice community doctor phone 027 809 3186 (Mon – Fri, 08:00-17:00 hours)
• Email for clinicians: [email protected]

The Inpatient Unit (IPU) is open for admissions. The IPU has vulnerable patients who are at risk of serious complications from COVID-19 infection. Therefore, the number of visitors allowed, and visiting times, remain limited to protect patients and the staff providing care. All visitors are required to provide their contact details in case contact tracing is required.
• Visitors are not allowed in if they have:
o Cold or flu symptoms 
 This includes any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip, loss of sense of smell; with or without fever. 
 Visitors should be free of cold or flu symptoms for at least 48 hours before visiting IPU. 
o Been in close contact with a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days (these people should be in self-isolation). 
o Recent history of leaving quarantine/isolation facility, or contact with a person who has recently left quarantine/isolation facility or is a border worker (worked for Customs and Immigration, on an international aircraft or shipping vessel, or in a quarantine/isolation facility or cleans areas/conveniences visited by international arrivals at airports or maritime ports). 
• Visiting hours are 10am to 4pm seven days a week
o IPU doors will be kept locked at all times. Ring the bell to request entry. 
o Only 2 people may visit the patient at any one time.
o Visitors will be asked to wear a mask.  
o Close family members may visit outside these hours by agreement with the senior nurse on duty. 
• All visitors must sign in using their name and contact details and complete COVID-19 screening on the iPad at IPU reception. This is to ensure Hospice Waikato can provide Public Health with contact tracing details if required.
• Visitors must stay in the patient’s room 
o To maintain physical distancing, visitors may be asked to leave the room when staff are carrying out a procedure. 
• One support person may stay overnight with a patient
o Meals will be provided for this person if they cannot easily leave IPU to get their own food or are unable to leave the patient e.g. they are close to end of life. 
• All communal areas in IPU remain closed
o This is to reduce congregation of visitors. However, visitors who need to leave the patient room during a procedure may use the front visitor lounge. They must maintain the recommended physical distancing (2 metres) from people they do not know. 
• The Sanctuary is closed except for private conversations between staff/family members. A maximum of four people can be in the Sanctuary at any time to allow for physical distancing. 
• All visitors are reminded of the need to maintain physical distancing and to perform hand hygiene on entering and when departing IPU. Cough and sneeze etiquette should also be followed. 
• Where possible, patients should be supported to connect with family and friends by phone and/or video calling. Family are encouraged to bring in a suitable device to allow this and use the free Wi-Fi in IPU. 
• Visitors should telephone ahead to check on visiting requirements before they arrive at IPU in case requirements have changed. 


Hospice staff will still be making home visits in-person. However, our staff will also be doing telephone and video calls with patients and clients where this is possible and appropriate. Their hospice nurse, doctor or Family Services team member will discuss with them the best way of staying in contact.
They will be contacted before any home 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 and the patient may be asked to wear a mask.

Hospice Waikato’s aged residential care liaison clinical nurse specialists are available for clinical advice and support by phone or video conference, for residents who are registered with Hospice Waikato and non-Hospice patients who are palliative or in the last days of life. They can be contacted via the main Hospice Waikato number.

Hospice Waikato outpatient clinics continue to be held at our site Cobham Drive site, as will rural outpatient clinics as needed.

These groups have been stopped while we are Level 2 to protect vulnerable patients.
Individual support (counselling, social work, spiritual care) will continue

1. Hospice Waikato website:
Healthcare Professionals: Clinical resources, including Covid-19 resources, can be found on the Clinical Guidelines & Drug Protocols page
• Clinical guidelines and drug protocols:
2. Te Ara Whakapiri: Care in the Last Days of Life guidance document and tool kit (symptom management flowcharts from page 14 on):
3. Hospice New Zealand website:
• Covid-19 response support:
4. Palliative Care Handbook (downloadable PDF):
5. Ministry of Health COVID-19 related advice:
6. COVID-19 and Palliative, End of Life and Bereavement Care in Secondary Care

This information is subject to change without notice, so please check back regularly -

Last updated: 01/03/2021 at 2:15pm