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Palliative Care Services

Nelson Tasman Hospice provides specialist palliative care services for people of all ages with life-limiting illnesses, supporting them, their whānau and carers, through illness, death and bereavement.

We work as a team. We know that people with life-limiting illnesses need a holistic approach to their care, not only focusing on physical symptoms but also supporting patients and their whānau with the social, emotional, and spiritual impact of their illness. The level of care we provide is based on the needs of the patient and whānau. Our care is available throughout the Nelson Tasman region and is provided in the home, in aged-care facilities, in hospitals, and in our purpose-built Specialist Palliative Care Unit (SPCU).

Our services are free of charge; however, it does cost to provide them. At present we receive 45% of our annual running costs from Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand, Nelson Marlborough, the remaining 55% must be raised every year. We could not continue providing these services without the generosity of our corporate sponsors and community, or our Hospice Shops.

Specialist Palliative Care Unit (SPCU)

The Nelson Tasman Hospice facility opened in April 2019 and was built through the generosity of the Nelson Tasman community. The unit has 10 single rooms for patients under the Hospice service who require specialist palliative care input for complex symptom management and assessment, that cannot be managed at home. The SPCU is not a long-term care facility. If required, our team will work with you and your whānau to ensure a smooth transition home or to an alternative care facility. Our care will continue in the community on discharge.

Each room is single occupancy with an ensuite bathroom, and a private balcony looking out on our expansive gardens. We have a hydrotherapy bath. There are multiple quiet spaces for visitors, to talk with our team, or just to reflect.

Our inpatient unit is staffed by specialist nurses, doctors, pharmacist, allied health professionals, Health Care Assistants, and volunteers, including a massage therapist and beautician. As an inpatient you will receive 24-hour nursing care. During each nursing shift (there are 3 shifts a day), a Health Care Assistant will be responsible for your care. You will be seen daily by a Hospice doctor. There is a Hospice doctor available on call day and night. We have no set visiting hours and visitors may stay overnight, COVID restrictions remain in place. please refer to our current visitor’s policy. If you would like to stay overnight, please check with a member of staff. Well-behaved pets can visit, please talk to a member of staff. We also have a therapy dog named Maisie that regularly visits.

Kōwhai house is a short-term, purpose-built on-site accommodation unit for occupancy by families with a loved one in the SPCU. A decision for occupancy is made based on patient condition, personal circumstances, and demand on the facility. Priority is given to those from out of town or who would otherwise need to pay for accommodation locally. Please talk with your nurse if you think this would be helpful for you or your whānau.

Patient meals are provided by our in-house kitchen. Visitors can purchase food and drinks on-site at Manuka Café, open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9.30am – 1pm.  All proceeds from the café go back to Nelson Tasman Hospice.

  • Day and night clothes (there is a shared laundry (washer and dryer) available to patients).
  • Toiletries
  • Your medications
  • Any special food or drink

We encourage our patients to bring along anything that will make them feel more at home during their stay. You may want to consider bringing: a special pillow or blanket, photographs, music. We have CD players available and each room has a Smart TV

Off street carparking is available at Nelson Tasman Hospice, with plenty of spaces on Piwakawaka Dr, or Suffolk Rd for overflow.

The parking at Nelson Tasman Hospice is equipped with charging stations for electric cars, and a safe area to park your bicycle.

Call our 24 hour palliative care support helpline

Community Care

The Community Care team at Hospice deliver specialist palliative care in your home

The Community clinical team at Nelson Tasman Hospice deliver specialist palliative care in your home. The team will work in partnership with you, your family, whanau, and other healthcare providers to develop an individualised plan of care that meets your needs.

We have a team of specialist nurses and allied health professionals who will visit you at home. The frequency of visits will be dependent on your condition. Your General Practitioner will remain your lead doctor in the community. We will work closely with them to ensure your palliative care needs are met.

During home visits, the clinical team member will make a comprehensive assessment of your needs and talk with you about your goals and preferences. As always, we all work as part of a team. Depending on your needs, we can arrange for support from doctors and volunteers.

There are family support volunteers who can be available to you for company, to allow your family carers a break, or to drive you to the shops or appointments. Please talk to your community nurse if you feel a family support volunteer would be helpful.

Medical, nursing advice and support are available 24/7.

Specialist equipment is available, although limited. Your clinical team will make an assessment and arrange this for you.

Lymphoedema is a condition where the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid (lymph) in the tissue results in swelling. It is caused by damage to the lymphatic system or problems with the drainage of fluid in the lymphatic system; it can be the result of cancer or cancer treatment, infection, injury, inflammation of the limb, or a lack of limb movement. Lymphoedema most commonly affects the limb(s) although it may also involve the trunk, breast, head and neck, or genital area.

The aim of the lymphoedema service at Nelson Tasman Hospice is to support clients to manage this condition, to reduce the lymphoedema, alleviate associated symptoms, prevent infection, and improve quality of life. Our lymphoedema nurse can see patients in the community and the Hospice inpatient unit.

Call our 24 hour palliative care support helpline

Aged Residential Care

Hospice offers palliative care support while living in aged residential care

We aim to support the palliative care capabilities of Aged Residential Care facilities by working alongside them in an advisory role. As well as responding to referrals for palliative care assessment and support, we also provide education and mentoring for nurses and care staff.

Our team has close working relationships with all Aged Residential Care facilities in the region.

Your daily care will continue to be provided by the facility staff, and we will work closely with them to support your palliative care needs. Facility staff can access advice and support from the Hospice nurses and doctors at any time.

Palliative Care in Hospital

Nelson Tasman Hospice provides an in-reach palliative care service at Nelson Hospital. We provide specialist palliative care advice, consultation, and education to support the hospital teams. Our team is comprised of Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialists, doctors, and a social worker. Our nurses are on-site Monday to Friday 8:30am-2:30pm. The hospital medical and nursing teams can access phone support from the Hospice 24 hours a day.

Some hospital patients will be referred to the community Hospice service or the Hospice inpatient unit, others may not require the continued support of the Hospice service and will have their ongoing needs met by their General Practitioner.

The team can be contacted via the hospital switchboard.

Call Nelson Hospital

Allied Health Services

Specialist Allied Health professionals at Nelson Tasman Hospice work as an interdisciplinary team with the nurses and doctors. Allied Health professionals include Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, Social Work, Physiotherapy, Pastoral care, and Bereavement Support.

To learn more about Allied Health Services in New Zealand, visit www.alliedhealth.org.nz

Clinical psychology as a speciality provides services to individuals and families within the Nelson Tasman Hospice service.

The Clinical Psychologist at Nelson Tasman Hospice can assess and treat several mental health needs that can occur for those facing a life-limiting illness and for their whānau. These mental health needs can include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and many other common difficulties.

Getting appropriate treatment for mental health needs can mean that those in our service can maximise their well-being. They can then focus on who and what they value.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a service to help people cope with a broad range of emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help to eliminate or control troubling feelings and experiences so a person can increase their well-being and engagement in their life. Problems helped by psychotherapy include the impact of trauma, medical illness, loss, daily stressors, and relationship difficulties.

Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology can be used in combination with medication and other therapies. The clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at Nelson Tasman Hospice have specialist experience in working with individuals with life-limiting illnesses and their whānau. The therapeutic approaches that can be offered include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness and Trauma-Informed Care.

Clinical psychology and psychotherapy are also important in the holistic management of symptoms that some people experience including pain and breathlessness.

Social workers provide care, advice, and support to people with personal or social problems.

The social workers at Nelson Tasman Hospice can provide emotional support to both individuals and to their whānau. They have specialist experience in working with those facing a life-limiting illness. They are also experienced in providing practical support including benefit or pension queries, housing or residential care options, legal matters such as power of attorney and making a will, advanced care planning, and funeral planning.

Spiritual care is a core aspect of holistic palliative care and is provided by every member of our team.  Spiritual care includes helping patients and their loved ones find meaning and purpose, peacefulness and serenity, hope, and connectedness to others, to nature, and to what that person holds sacred.

Our Spiritual and Pastoral Care Coordinator leads the provision of spiritual care at the Hospice and is available to lead prayer and meditation, ceremonies and rituals, and provide resources to nurture the spiritual wellbeing of all those on our service.  

Physiotherapy plays an important role in helping people safely maximize their independence through managing any physical issues and difficulties caused by illness.

Physiotherapy provides interventions that can improve your functional ability and quality of life. Physiotherapists can assist with issues such as pain, joint mobility problems, techniques for managing breathlessness, and establishing an exercise programme to maintain function and independence. The physiotherapist at Hospice works in our Specialist Palliative Care Unit and the community.

Bereavement care from Nelson Tasman Hospice includes individual support, bereavement groups, volunteer visitors and an annual memorial service. Remember, a chat or a visit is only a phone call away.

The bereavement service includes a bereavement coordinator, pastoral and spiritual coordinator, and volunteers. Bereavement support can offer short term specialist care with referrals made to other community agencies if longer term support is required.

Call our 24 hour palliative care support helpline

Your Rights

When you use any health service in New Zealand, your rights are protected under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights.

All people receiving medical services have a right to be notified of their rights and responsibilities.

All people have the right to exercise those rights, and all decisions and choices they make will guide their hospice care.

If you have any comments or concerns about the service provided by Nelson Tasman Hospice, we welcome your feedback. You can provide this feedback directly to any team member or contact us anytime.

Caregivers Resources

We recognise, as whanau caring for your family member you matter.

Our team are here to support you as you navigate this journey.

The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) approach is a person-centred process of carer assessment and support in palliative and end of life care. Its purpose is to facilitate support for family members and friends (carers) of adults with life-limiting conditions.

Carers are invited to participate in this approach to indicate further support they need in relation to enabling them to care for someone at home, as well as support for their own health and well-being within their caregiving role.

Carers use the CSNAT to indicate which of 14 domains they may need more support and then prioritise those most important to them at that moment in time. Following completion of the tool, an assessment conversation then takes place between the carer and health care practitioner which enables the carer to express their individual support needs.

Together with your healthcare practitioner you agree on what further supportive input would be valuable and create a shared action plan. A shared review of the carers’ support needs can then be carried out at another point in time.

Fill out this form and share it with your community nurse, to start a discussion about your needs.

Download CSNAT Form

A beautiful explanation of the dying process for patients and family.

‘Supporting Someone with Breathlessness’ is a learning resource for family and friends of people with breathlessness

The aim of the Caregiver’s Toolbox is to provide support and practical information to family/whānau carers when their loved one has a life limiting illness.


  • To provide a safe and welcoming environment for family/whānau caregivers to gather and share experiences.
  • To provide practical information that assists the family/whānau in caring for their loved one in the last weeks/months of life.
  • To empower family/whānau carers with confidence and knowledge around knowing what to expect when their loved one has a life limiting illness.

The course is spread over 4 Sessions over 4 weeks.

Week 1:

  • What is palliative care?
  • Getting the help you need
  • Building a support network
  • Building caregiver resilience

Week 2:

  • Symptom control/managing medications
  • Nutrition – hints and ideas

Week 3:

  • How to support loved ones with decreased mobility, moving safely and using mobility aids
  • Home care
  • Caregiver’s fatigue

Week 4:

  • Understanding the dying process
  • How to manage the unexpected – ‘what if’ plans
  • Making the most of time that is left

These sessions are free to attend and informal, where you can come and share a cup of tea/coffee and have a chat. There will be a small group of up to 10 people. You are welcome to attend all 4 sessions or a session(s) of your liking. Due to limited numbers, registration is essential.

For any enquiries or to find out when the next Caregiver’s Toolbox takes place or to register contact: Nelson Tasman Hospice Education Team, education@nelsonhospice.org.nz or 03 546 3950

This series is for New Zealand family carers who are faced with caring for a loved one who is dying.

Developed by the specialist palliative team at Otago Community Hospice and supported by Hospice New Zealand, the series provides reliable palliative advice and information for carers who may find themselves out of their depth caring for someone nearing end of life.

Available to listen to on Spotify, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts & Apple Podcasts. Carers Podcast information

Series Content

  • Ep 1: Carers – How to Keep Yourself Well
  • EP 2: Small and Tasty – Tempting Someone to Eat
  • Ep 3: Pills and Potions – Managing the Meds
  • Ep 4 Grief and Loss
  • Ep 5: Carer and Patient Fatigue
  • Ep 6: Rest, Relax, Sleep
  • Ep 7: What to Expect at End of Life
  • Ep 8: Advance Care Planning
  • Ep 9: What does Grief look like?
  • Ep 10: Finding Meaning – The Importance of Self
  • Ep 11: Breathlessness
  • Ep 12: Different forms of Grief and some helpful tools.
  • Ep 13: Myths around Morphine and other Meds
  • Ep 14: Legal Matters
  • Ep 15: Funeral Planning
  • Ep 16: Guided Relaxation Technique
  • Ep 17: Guided Relaxation and Visualisation

Ending Life Well was produced by Denise van Aalst, a palliative specialist nurse with over 20 years experience.

Click here for the podcast on Spotify
Click here for Hospice New Zealand resources


Volunteering for Hospice can be a great way to support the community, gain new experiences and meet new people. Help Nelson Tasman Hospice maintain its range of care and support services.



Your support is vital to continue hospice care in the Nelson Tasman community. There’s lots of great ways you can help.



You can help Hospice make up this funding shortfall by making a donation, organising a fundraising initiative in your community, funding a day of care, or volunteering your time.


Many thanks to our Major Corporate Sponsors:

Many thanks to our wonderful supporters:

Visit our Hospice Shops
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