Hospice Kowhai Programme offered

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A programme on caring for ill loved ones at home is one of two being offered at the North Otago Hospice Hub next month.

The Otago Community Hospice is bringing its Kowhai Programme for patient carers to Oamaru, and also offering masterclasses in palliative care for GPs.

Family carers and GPs were “vitally important” for palliative patients, Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said.

“It’s really important that we do all we can to help GPs, and ensure we are supporting them and sharing our expertise,” Ms Green said.

“And it’s equally important that we provide education for those carers who are looking after a loved one, and who often don’t have any training.”

The classes are focused on sharing specialist knowledge of palliative care in the primary health setting.

The masterclasses for GPs, led by Hospice clinical leader Dr David Butler, start on March 5 and cover end of life prescribing, advance care planning, the principles of pain management and ethical challenges faced in palliative care.

The Kowhai Programme starts on March 27 and covers topics such as medication management, self-care, legal advice, grief, finding meaning and building resilience, nutrition, what to expect in the last days of life, and funeral planning.

Until now, the Otago Community Hospice has delivered the Kowhai Programme only in Dunedin.

“It is wonderful we now have the resource to extend this programme to our regions,” Ms Green said.

“All our patient carers should have the opportunity to attend a Kowhai session if they are able to.

“There is nothing like being in a room with the experts, asking the questions that keep people awake at night, and be able to leave a little better equipped for the challenging tasks ahead.”

The Kowhai Programme would also offer an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations.

More information on the courses can be found on the Otago Community Hospice website.