It’s the people that make Aynsley Wilkinson passionate about volunteering. Creating strong relationships with colleagues,…
More Than Just a Bed
John Campbell has been volunteering for Nelson Tasman Hospice for 16 years now, delivering beds and air mattresses all over Golden Bay. He can’t remember how he got started but he’s pretty sure that his wife Karen, who was a district nurse (DN) for years, would have had something to do with it. “More than likely, it would have been, you know, you’ve got a van… and I was very pleased to help.”
John headed over the hill for volunteer and bed-handling training with the facilities manager at Nelson Tasman Hospice and has been helping local families ever since.
“I was initially a bit worried. How do I deal with people who are in one of the most difficult times of their life? You know the wife or the husbands, they know what’s around the corner – that there’s going to be a death. But people have always been so reassured by the help and grateful. You go in there and the Occupational Therapist’s been and there’s all this gear the family need that’s been supplied. The DNs are visiting too, every second, or every day, and of course, they’ve got halos – they’re up there with the angels, so delivering the bed is never a difficult task. You go in and show them how the bed works, and I’ll often take an air mattress in, which is installed by the DNs the following day. It’s such a good team.”
The teamwork that happens in rural areas across New Zealand is one that we often take for granted, but it’s something that doesn’t just happen. In Golden Bay palliative care is provided by Golden Bay Community Health (GBCH) as the lead provider, in collaboration with Nelson Tasman Hospice. In cases like the one above the Occupational Therapist and DN are part of the local GBCH team and along with the local GPs are actively supported with specialist clinical oversight provided by the Nelson Tasman Hospice team; meaning that each palliative patient and whānau in Golden Bay have a team of support people by their side. Patients are also visited by a Hospice specialist palliative care doctor in their homes and the specialist equipment, such as the bed and air mattress, is managed and maintained by Nelson Tasman Hospice. In addition, if required, Golden Bay patients have access to the Specialist Palliative Care Unit (SPCU) on Suffolk Road in Stoke, Nelson.
There’s definitely the feeling of being part of the team. John says that by the time he is part of the proceedings, “There’s already this whole vibe going. Like the hospital nurses, DNs, doctors, specialists from over the hill, and all kinds of people that have been involved. Always family members around, and then I bring the bed. You know, I can understand what a help it is. Just such a little thing like having a specialist bed here. It’s comfortable. You know, save them regularly hurting their back shifting a person around and getting grumpy.”
John enjoys knowing that when he delivers a bed it really makes a difference to the quality of life of the patient, and that of their loved ones who are caring for them in their homes.
“The difference it makes to a person who’s unwell and stressed and worried. They can lie in this bed that’s comfortable, and they don’t have to ask to be turned over or lifted or anything like that. They can do it all themselves. The bed can be moved around out to the window to look out at Collingwood or wherever they are, with a bit of luck. And when the time comes, I just get a message to say could I pick the bed up, at that point I know they don’t want to see it anymore. So, I’m very happy to take it away.”
The amount of time the role takes is minimal, it is consistent, but John says it just ticks along. He is contacted whenever a bed is required and then drives to the hospital to collect the equipment with his van. Each bed is in 17 pieces, so the training given by the team in Nelson is vital. “It’s like having a Meccano set of your own – you get all these bits and pieces and then how to fit it into your own van, which is a bit of a struggle.” But after 16 years, he’s now got it down to fine art.
Nelson Tasman Hospice services provided are free, however, only 45% of operating costs are funded by Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand | Nelson Marlborough. This leaves 55% or $3.5 million of fundraising each year. The GBCH nursing team has identified some equipment that is urgently required for patients on hospice services, to supplement what is already available. This equipment includes a syringe driver (meaning that people can self-manage their pain medication, providing fast pain relief as required) and a medical transport bed (for in-home care). The cost for this equipment will be circa $7,000. Any additional funds raised will go back into supporting the funding shortfall we have for hospice services in the community.
There is currently a fundraising drive in Golden Bay to see whether the money can be raised to purchase this equipment, details on how to donate can be found at the end of this article.
Especially in Golden Bay, often people live in lovely places and John sets the bed up somewhere where people are part of the comings and goings and everyday life. The bed is mobile so can be easily moved to catch the sun or look out over the view. Truly, a practical way to support people to live well, until they leave well.
Nelson Tasman Hospice would love to hear from anyone in Golden Bay that might be interested in assisting deliver beds & air mattresses as a relief person when John may be away. Full training would be provided, but you would need to have your own van for transport. For further information contact our Volunteer Programme Manager, Krisca Gould on 03 546 3912 or Krisca.firstname.lastname@example.org
How you can donate:
– Pop into one of the following businesses to leave your donation in one of the donation boxes
Tākaka Hospice Shop
Golden Bay Pharmacy
Tinky’s Tavern – Collingwood
The Pohara General Store
The Wholemeal Café
– Donate online and reference “Golden Bay” when making your donation
This Post Has 0 Comments