Arohanui Hospice’s services are people-focused. Supporting anyone living with any life-limiting illness, Arohanui is available to help them ‘live every moment’ in any way that’s important to them, in any place they call home. Here, Kate Bird, from our clinical team, shares why she’s passionate about the care that Arohanui provides.
My father is a doctor – a palliative doctor as well as a GP. I grew up hearing about about the work that he did which inspired me to become a nurse. Once I gained the experience of palliative care in a hospital setting, I realised that it was something I’d love to continue doing. I enjoy working really closely with my social work and medical colleagues along with families, and I find it a privilege to help enable people to live the best last days, months, years of their life that they possibly can.
I’m one of Arohanui’s recyclers – I started originally in 2007 as a registered nurse for Arohanui’s Inpatient Unit. Later I went into the community and worked as a palliative care nurse down at the Horowhenua. I’m a surgical nurse by background, so I also did that as well for a few years before returning to Arohanui as the Director of Clinical Services in 2019. I’ve always felt attached to Arohanui – when I left to work at the DHB, I continued at hospice as a kitchen and laundry volunteer. So, although I left, I never really left. I still do my kitchen duty once a month which I greatly enjoy as I get to experience a very different side of hospice.
As Director of Clinical Services, I’m responsible for the day-to-day operational running of the Inpatient Unit and the community team. Plus, I’m responsible for the care of Arohanui’s staff which includes our Family Support team, all of our nurses, and our care assistants. I also help look after our staff in the kitchen, receptionists and clinical administrators. My day starts by making sure that there is sufficient staff in all the areas that I look after, whether that’s in the community or the Inpatient Unit.
Other than an initial morning meeting, every day is different in my role. I’m really lucky because at times I still get to deliver direct patient care – I am still a nurse at heart and I do love being hands-on with our patients. But I also have the opportunity to look after and work with all the amazing staff who look after our patients.
I really enjoy our morning team meetings as they are multidisciplinary – they include our nurses, medical staff, Family Support team and our Pharmacist; we gather together to make sure that we have the best plan of care for each patient that’s on the inpatient unit. Patients that are leaving the unit to return to their homes and communities need a comprehensive discharge plan – we identify the services, support and equipment they might need and create a plan to get them home in a timely manner. We don’t want unnecessary delays, because sometimes this is their short window to get home.
Every single member of Arohanui’s team brings something special to each patient and their journey. They’re all very different and they’re all very unique – it actually takes all of these people to bring all the little bits and pieces together to make the bigger difference. I’ve never worked anywhere with a team that is so incredibly cohesive and focused on patients and families. It’s wonderful.
What is aroha to me? To me it’s that care and compassion that we give, and I always want the care to be delivered as I would want care delivered to me or to my family; I feel that we do that with that care and compassion for Arohanui’s patients, for our families and for one another.
Find out how you can support hospice services, here