Amitabha Hospice Service provides end-of-life and palliative care with a difference. Instead of a care facility, Amitabha provides in-home specialised support to individuals and their whānau nearing the end of life or with life-limiting conditions.
‘We’re all about human connection,’ says Communications Manager Claire Barton. ‘Amitabha Hospice aims to improve the quality of people’s remaining lives with free, compassionate companionship and practical home help,’ she adds.
Claire advises that the reliable support offered by Amitabha Hospice Service provides people with choices. ‘Our service can help clients to stay in their homes instead of moving into a care facility,’ she says.
Furthermore, the service also hosts two weekly groups at its Avondale base. There’s a Cuppa and Company on Tuesdays and an Art Group on Fridays. ‘These provide our clients with morning tea, laughter and social interaction in meaningful ways,’ Claire advises.
Amitabha Hospice Service operates Auckland-wide, but with its home in Avondale, The West is a natural focus. Claire reports that the service currently works with around 70 individuals and families, and 30 of those are out West.
Referrals come from a range of health professionals and community providers. And individuals or their families can apply directly to Amitabha.
The registered charity relies on volunteers to deliver its services. Claire says around 80-100 specially trained volunteers support people in their homes. Weekly tasks might include help with shopping, walks in the park or a visit to a local café. Often, Amitabha volunteers are relievers for the usual caregiver or family member so they can take some much-needed time out.
Recruiting enough volunteer support companions to meet demand is an ongoing challenge. However, the help of the Your West Support Fund has made a difference. Funding of $1,211 went on advertising costs and contributed towards producing a comprehensive training manual. The manual covers everything the new volunteer needs to know, from basic hygiene and spiritual and cultural issues to developing listening skills. It also doubles up as a handbook once the volunteer is matched with a client.
Claire advises that the recruitment campaign made possible by the Your West Support Fund was a success, attracting nine top-quality volunteers. Eight of these are already working in the community, and the last recruit will join them soon.
Amitabha Hospice Service regularly runs six-week training courses for new volunteers throughout the year. The next one is due to start on 6 March. The hospice would love to hear from you if you want to contribute to your community and have a rewarding experience. Check out the website for more information.