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Cook Islands Collaboration

In August this year, Nelson Tasman Hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist & Palliative Care Nurse Educator, Annie Wallace, spent some time in Rarotonga providing palliative care education at the invitation of Te Marae Ora – Ministry of Health Cook Islands.  

There is no hospice in the Cook Islands and palliative care is provided by the Public Health team and hospital staff. The Cook Islands Palliative Care Policy has recently been updated and a palliative care team made up of three doctors, a nursing leadership team and the chief pharmacist oversee palliative care provision in all 15 islands that comprise the Cook Islands. Annie was there to support the implementation of the new policy as well as providing some clinical resources from Nelson Tasman Hospice that will be adapted to suit the needs of local patients, their whānau as well as the medical professionals providing the care.  

                                                      Te Marae Ora said that the goal of the workshop was “to increase knowledge and understanding around what palliative care is, with the aim of improving systems to help utilise our limited resources and working together to be more efficient in how we deliver our services.” 


Annie held syringe driver workshops as well as other training sessions over the 5 days, “teaching others to teach” to ensure self-sufficiency, and the training was attended by community public health nurses, hospital staff, allied health professionals and even two nurses who came in from the outer islands for the course.  


Annie had previously held some short education sessions when she was in Rarotonga on holiday and spent a month volunteering in palliative care education in India 5 years ago. She says she thinks that collaboration is important to improve palliative across the world, and that it isn’t a one-way street. It’s not only the people being taught at the education sessions that are learning!  

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