Referral to Hospice

Mary Potter Hospice is a community-based service, providing specialist palliative care services to the people of Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti.

The Hospice is a Charitable Trust, and the service is free.

There are four teams: community teams in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti, and an In-Patient Unit in Newtown.

They work closely with Primary Health Organisations, District Nurses, and other community based services. Care is available in people’s homes, residential facilities, day unit, outpatient clinics and as an in-patient at the Hospice.

How to make a referral

Referrals will be accepted from:

  • Primary Health Organisations
  • GPs
  • specialist medical practitioners
  • Wellington Hospital palliative care team
  • any health professionals in consultation with the GP or medical specialist
  • Referrals should be sent to the Newtown base in Wellington. Please use a referral form if possible (these can be sent to you).
To make a referral or request a referral form, please contact our Patient Coordinator: (04) 801 0006 Fax: (04) 389 5035

The patient and their family must be informed of the nature of the palliative care offered by the Hospice and agree to the referral.

What are the access criteria?
  • when a person has been diagnosed as having a life threatening /life limiting / active progressive disease for which curative or disease modifying treatment is not an option
  • when the person can reasonably be expected to die within12 months
  • when the person, and/or their family requires specialist advice regarding palliative care needs: physical, psychosocial, and/or spiritual
  • when the person agrees to the service
  • the person is living in Wellington, Porirua or Kapiti.
Where is Hospice care delivered?

This is dependent on the patient’s choice, their needs and appropriateness. The choices include:

  • people’s homes
  • aged residential care
  • Hospice’s In-Patient Unit
  • Hospice’s Day Unit
  • Hospice’s outpatient clinics.
 Who might benefit from the Hospice services?

People are referred when they and their medical practitioner agree that curative treatment is no longer an option. Receiving palliative chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment does not exclude a person from the service.

Referral is appropriate when a person has:

  • uncontrolled or complicated symptoms or specialised nursing requirements
  • emotional or behavioural difficulties related to the illness
  • social issues involving children, family or carers, physical and home environment, finance, communication or learning disability
  • unresolved issues around self-worth, loss of meaning and hope, as well as requests for euthanasia and complex decisions over the type of care, including withholding or withdrawal of treatment
  • if patient and family request transfer to the service for terminal cares.
How will the Hospice respond to referrals?
  • urgent: 1 working day
  • non-urgent: 3 – 10 working days of the referral

Outcomes of a referral may be:

  • decline with recommendations
  • admit for short-term need requirements
  • admit for on-going involvement.
Referrals for people living in the community

If the patient is in the community a Hospice Palliative Care Coordinator will arrange to meet and assess the person.

Direct transfer to the In-Patient Unit
If the patient is in hospital and a direct transfer to the In-Patient Unit is requested the Palliative Care Coordinator, or a senior medical officer, will liaise with the referrer and/or the ward nursing staff directly to assess the urgency of the referral and the needs of the patient.

What is provided by the Community Hospice Service?

The primary aim is to maintain people in their home if that is their wish. There is a close working relationship with our key partners, including primary health care teams and community health services.

The three multidisciplinary community teams provide a range of services:

  • palliative care co-ordination
  • palliative care medical clinic
  • day unit programmes
  • occupational therapy
  • social work
  • spiritual care
  • bereavement service.

The teams are supported by volunteers who provide community and bereavement support, driving and a biography service.

Palliative Care Co-Ordination

All patients referred to the Hospice will be allocated a Palliative Care Co-ordinator, who will be the key worker and responsible for linking the Hospice to other partners and services.

Palliative Care Co-ordinators:
  • assess the individual need for patients and family
  • discuss treatment and care options
  • facilitate transfer between services and providers
  • negotiate and plan treatment and care
  • refer to other services and providers
  • ensure access to specialist palliative care services provided by the Hospice
  • communicate and liaise with health professionals, services and providers
  • provide specialist palliative care nursing support, advice and education.
The Palliative Care Co-ordinators are available:
Monday to Friday, 8.00am – 4.30pm