Hospice care isn't the end of the road, hear Leann's experience of IPU

Hospice care isn't the end of the road, hear Leann's experience of IPU

“My family thought coming to Hospice Waikato’s IPU meant it was the end for me — they were wrong...”

Leann shares her story, hoping to dispel fears and misconceptions

It is a beautiful early spring morning when we visit Leann Campbell with her Hospice nurse Jenni Bell. As we arrive, Leann’s Australian grandchildren are bouncing happily on a trampoline in the front garden at the family’s rural dwelling in North Waikato. We have driven through rolling hills and lush Waikato farmland to visit Leann, finally following Hospice Nurse Jenni down the dusty, unsealed driveway to her family home she shares with husband Daryl.

Her daughters Nadine and Shinay greet us in the kitchen “Mum’s upstairs— go up.” The girls and their five children have recently arrived in the country from Australia after spending the required 14 days in quarantine in Christchurch, they are finally with Leann to spend these precious days with their Mum (and Nana).

We find Leann sitting in her favourite comfy chair enjoying the beautiful undulating rural view from her sunny upstairs lounge. The young-looking 57-year-old’s face lights up as she greets Jenni and then is introduced to us.

Leann has invited us here today to share with us her recent three week stay in Hospice Waikato’s Inpatient Unit. “My brothers weren’t happy at all when they heard I was going into Hospice,” she says. “They thought that it meant it was the end for me. I think it’s important that people understand that coming into Hospice care or staying at IPU does not mean that you are about to die,” she adds. “I was there for three weeks and look at me – I’m getting stronger every day – now that my medication is sorted.”

Leann’s daughter Nadine agrees, “it’s the same in Australia, people don’t understand that Hospice is not about dying, it’s about living the best life possible, no matter how long you have left.”

“Lots of my family visited me in IPU,” says Leann – “Even my brothers,” she laughs, “and they were like — awh this is nice — and I said come and have dinner with me, they were really surprised.”

“One of the most special things about my stay in IPU was the staff,” says Leann. “They are like angels; they are so kind and the doctors too. I just wish more people understood that Hospice, and Hospice care, is not something to be afraid of,” she adds.

As we say goodbye to the family, it’s clear from the warm hugs exchanged that Jenni is very much a loved part of this family’s existence, and that is because of the Hospice care Leann is receiving, these very precious days can be shared with the people most important to Leann, in the place she most wants to be — home.

Facts at a glance
• Hospice Waikato cares for approximately 1500 Waikato people (and their family/whanau) every year.
• Hospice Waikato IPU has 11 beds for symptom and pain control, to give carers and family respite from looking after a terminally ill loved one, and sometimes for end of life care.
• Hospice Waikato is only partially funded and must raise over $5m every year to keep these services available to people.

Ways you can help
• Please donate today
• Leave a bequest in your will
• Become a Hospice Waikato volunteer
• Hold a fundraising event

It is because of people like you that Hospice Waikato’s services are available at no cost.
Read the full newsletter here: https://www.hospicewaikato.org.nz/file/2020-summer-newsletter/open