Stay al­ters view of Mercy Hospice role

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

While some have the mis­con­cep­tion that Mercy Hospice is a place where sick peo­ple go to die, ter­mi­nally ill pa­tient Jo Walsh now sees it as a haven.

The Mt Al­bert res­i­dent was told 18-months ago that the breast can­cer she had beaten in 2006 had re­turned and spread through­out her body.

Mrs Walsh had been un­aware of the hospice un­til a vis­it­ing friend saw that she wasn’t do­ing so well and sug­gested she needed some help.

‘‘Ini­tially I said no. I knew I was ter­mi­nally ill. I knew there was no cure, but the term ‘hospice’ at the time meant to me The End,’’ the mother-of-two says.

For three months she fought against go­ing, mean­while hospice nurses would visit her to check up and help with her med­i­ca­tions.

‘‘The hospice nurses never gave up. One of them con­vinced me to go into Open­ing Doors [a day stay pro­gramme] and one of the nurses sug­gested I look up­stairs.

‘‘There was some­thing about it that was so peace­ful. When I was shown into one of the rooms there was no way I could say it wasn’t for me. It just seemed to scream out, ‘ come here – you need it’.’’

There are three cat­e­gories of ad­mis­sion into the In-Pa­tient Unit at Mercy Hospice rang­ing from a few days of respite care through to care for the fi­nal days of life.

Mrs Walsh was ad­mit­ted into the sec­ond cat­e­gory where some­one could help mon­i­tor her med­i­ca­tion, as well as treat­ing her spir­i­tual, emo­tional and phys­i­cal needs to make her life more tol­er­a­ble.

‘‘When they say the are the ‘cloak of mercy’, that’s what it felt like,’’ she says ‘‘I could just feel this sense of peace for the first time in my re­cent ill­ness.’’

Af­ter a stay of 14 days Mrs Walsh re­turned home to her fam­ily, but her time at Mercy Hospice is firmly im­printed on her mind.

‘‘You come out nearly your­self again, and that’s what you want,’’ Mrs Walsh says.

‘‘Even though you know your not go­ing to get bet­ter, and some­times that’s fright­en­ing, it’s good to know there is a place to go.’’

A spokesman for the hospice says fear is a com­mon feel­ing when pa­tients and fam­i­lies are first ad­mit­ted to Mercy Hospice in Pon­sonby.

‘‘One of the myths we are hop­ing to break is we aren’t just a build­ing peo­ple come to die.’’

The hospice is hold­ing it’s an­nual aware­ness cam­paign this week.

‘‘We are hop­ing to raise $200,000 to help cover the an­nual pa­tient ser­vices costs in­volved with run­ning our 13-bed in­pa­tient unit.’’

Do­na­tions will help re­source the IPU with vi­tal med­i­cal sup­plies and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

They will also help pay for other as­pects of treat­ment such as X-rays, am­bu­lance trans­porta­tion and the rental of spe­cial­ist pal­lia­tive care equip­ment.

Photo:JA­SON OXENHAM

Cloak of mercy: Jo Walsh is ter­mi­nally ill with can­cer and says stay­ing at Mercy Hospice’s In Pa­tient Unit of­fered some peaces.

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