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Know us for when you need us…

Introducing Dr Amanda Fitzgerald – Specialist Palliative Care Doctor

What does a day look like for you? 

It starts with a meeting of our interdisciplinary community team, discussing patient/whānau needs. Then I meet with our SPCU team to discuss who might need an inpatient admission. Following that, I see patients in our outpatient clinic and their own homes, usually with one of our amazing community nurses. Some days I cover the inpatient Specialist Palliative Care Unit (SPCU.) I also take phone calls from District Nurses and other doctors/health professionals in need of specialist palliative care advice. No two days are exactly the same!

What is it like working with patients and their whānau in their homes?

It’s an absolute privilege, to be invited into peoples’ homes in order to assist with their care. I feel very honoured to be able to spend this time with my patients and their loved ones.

What’s a myth about hospice services that you would like to dispel?

That Hospice ‘is where people go to die’. I do look after people in their last few days of life, both in the SPCU and in the community, but the majority of the work is about providing symptom management and holistic care earlier in the journey, in a huge variety of settings (home, inpatient Hospice, aged residential care, hospital.) Hospice care is about living life as fully as possible, in the ways that matter most to the person and their whānau.

Introducing Irvina Koefoed – Physiotherapist

What is your role at Nelson Tasman Hospice?  

I am the Hospice Physiotherapist and I help people continue to live their lives as independently as they can despite their diagnosis, with the aim to maximise their movement and function based on their individual circumstances.

How does your work benefit patients? 

My work helps provide patients with assistance on how to safely mobilise whether it be taking a few steps, walking to the loo or just helping them achieve goals like being able to sit out into a chair.

I also provide education and strategies to family/carers on how best to physically assist to maximise safety of the patient and themselves, this includes training on equipment if required, to carry out cares or maintain independence.

What do you find the most rewarding about the work that you do?  

The look of joy on people’s faces when they achieve a small task, they thought they could no longer do! Sometimes it’s just the simple things you can do to help achieve a “small” goal, which is actually a “huge” goal for a patient. This just fills my cup and makes me so thankful for the rewarding job I have here at Hospice.

Nelson Tasman Hospice has launched a Podcast Series – “Know us for when you need us” on YouTube.
These are a series of interviews talking to people that work at, or have been personally impacted by the work of Nelson Tasman Hospice.
A big thank you to Todd Starr & Hannah Tunstall of In A Nutshell for producing our series.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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