Quest for end-of-life facility

The head of a group aiming for a local palliative care and respite facility says the Lake Wakatipu Care Centre would be ideal.

It’s being vacated later this year with patients moving to Arvida’s new facility at Queenstown Country Club, but no decision’s been reached on its future use.

Wakatipu Care Trust chair Michael White says it’d make sense with Lakes District Hospital right next door.

‘‘This is our preferred location, but we’re not going to say we’re not going to do it if we can’t go there, we’ll just have to look somewhere else.’’

He says the trust’s signed a memorandum of understanding with Southland Hospice to work towards a local facility — currently the only option’s moving patients to Invercargill.

A report by Arrowtown economist Benje Patterson, White says, shows between 40 and 50 Whakatipu residents will need some inpatient palliative care every year.

The trust’s initially aiming for just two care suites with support facilities.

‘Definite need’: Queenstown Community Hospice GM Marie Wales

White’s keen the suites also provide respite care for someone who’s very poorly, if not terminal, so both that person and their family get ‘‘a chance to recharge the batteries’’.

Queenstown Community Hospice GM Marie Wales says their new Frankton facility’s a base for staff and support services.

The next step’s a facility such as the trust’s proposing — ‘‘there’s definitely a need for looking at the next five to 10 years for palliative care and end-of-life services for the Whakatipu Basin, because we know there’s significant growth’’.

‘‘Whilst we’ve got a young population, we’ve still got a very ageing population, a lot of people are choosing to move here for retirement purposes.’’

Though people mostly prefer to die at home, statistically, White says, ‘‘there are more people who have to move into a hospice situation in the last 24 or 48 hours of their life’’, due to stress on families and the level of nursing required.

Dying at home, Wales adds, is also not ideal for those renting or without family support.

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