Mary Potter Hospice’s response to COVID-19

March 30th, 2020

Kia ora koutou

Throughout this COVID-19 emergency, Mary Potter Hospice is open and continues to serve the people of Wellington, Kāpiti and Porirua. The following is to update you on the Hospice’s response to COVID-19.

Our response has required a tremendous amount of work and thought across the Hospice, at all times the safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and the community has been at the top of our minds.

For that reason we have made changes to our community service provision so we can continue to primarily support our patients in their own home or in their aged care facility. Our Inpatient Unit (IPU) in Newtown remains open also. It is our goal to limit the amount of face-to-face interactions that our patients and staff have but still provide compassionate care and support. It is important to us that we ensure patients are able to avoid admission to the hospital to keep hospital beds available to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients or flow-on impacts.

Our changes will ensure that we can continue to deliver Hospice services to the maximum number of people for the longest time, and to mitigate against the introduction of COVID-19 into the IPU – reducing the likelihood of widespread infection of patients and staff.

To support this way of working we have implemented a number of changes to mitigate the risk of infection to staff and patients:

  • Careful triaging and screening of patients before community visits
  • Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Implementation of telehealth: this is the use of telecommunications and virtual technology to enable Mary Potter Hospice to continue providing palliative care services to patients in the community at a time when visiting at home may have associated risks. Staff are exercising professional judgment when deciding on a telehealth visit as opposed to a face-to-face visit, taking into account the patient’s condition, available resources and any other mitigating circumstances. This is supported by a multi disciplinary team review
  • Our multi-disciplinary team are undertaking risk assessments of all patients to identify those that are vulnerable, to ensure they have food, medication and other support
  • Wherever possible our staff are working from home. Those who are working from the Inpatient Unit and community bases are practising physical distancing, team handovers are done remotely or by dictaphone, and meetings are held by video conference
  • We have limited the number of visitors to the IPU to one designated visitor per patient for the duration of their stay in the IPU
  • We have closed down our retail network.

We have also implemented a programme to support our staff at this time as they face many new challenges in the way they work, and in their personal lives, United With You.

All of the changes implemented are about ensuring the shape of our services are appropriately configured to meet the challenges we are now facing as a country.

We are very grateful to you for your continued support for our service, our patients and our community as we face this unprecedented time together.

Kia kaha
Brent Alderton
Chief Executive