Community backs hospice through Covid challenges

It was inevitable that the Delta variant of Covid-19 was going to impact progress on the vital redevelopment project underway at Harbour Hospice on the North Shore.

Like many construction projects, work at 7 Shea Terrace was forced to stop when Auckland was sent into Alert Level 4. For every week spent at Level 4, progress was delayed by a week, and then Level 3 restrictions and delays have meant that work is slower than expected and has set the date back further.  

But despite these challenges, there is a lot for the team to be proud of. As construction continues, Hospice's incredible nurses, doctors, and family support team (using PPE) continue to deliver safe patient care in the community, as one of few services offering emergency one-on-one visits. This model of care was developed in preparation for the temporary closure of its North Shore Inpatient Unit, but with the extended time Auckland has been in lockdown it has really come into its own, says Chief Executive Jan Nichols. “In the most challenging of circumstances our clinical and administration teams have continued to deliver patient care at the highest level.”

Right throughout this period the community’s unwavering belief in this project has kept the team going. But it’s not just the support for the redevelopment that Nichols is grateful for. “Our community has got behind us in so many ways throughout the pandemic, most recently through the reopening of our hospice shops, which has seen our highly valued volunteers return and customers and donors come flooding back.”

The 17 hospice shops, which collectively raise about one third of Harbour Hospice’s operational funding needs, have played an important role in enabling care to continue, free of charge. Shop managers were quick to swing into action to offer a ‘view and collect’ service when Auckland moved into Level 3. And with the re-opening of shop doors in mid-November, and the return of its volunteer force to the shop floors, retail has been doing a roaring trade, Nichols says.

“The community has been behind us 100 percent of the way, through the ups and downs of our building project, to supporting fundraising campaigns, donating to our shops and much more.”

Nichols was quick to emphasise the difference made to the charity thanks to the incredible kind-heartedness of its shop landlords. “Our shop landlords have been more than generous, offering much-needed rent relief. We are so grateful for their compassion and their support.

“None of what we do is possible without our community and we’d like to say a very big thank you to all our supporters. We wish them all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.”

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Issue 126 December-January 2021