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Remember to Live Every Moment this Hospice Awareness Week

by Graham Southwell

Hospice Awareness Week is coming up from 15-21 May and it is a great chance to reflect on Hospice New Zealand’s key philosophy of ‘living every moment’. BNI has a long relationship with Hospice. We are national partners with Hospice NZ and so far, we have raised over 1.4 million for hospices across the country. This has come from large annual fundraisers like the Nurse Maude Black Tie event to smaller fundraising occasions where gold coin donations are made.



Common values

Hospice Awareness Week is an opportunity for hospices to profile and celebrate the services they provide in their local communities, to address misconceptions that people may have around hospice care and to encourage the New Zealand public to support their local hospice.

There’s a perfect synergy between our two organisations because of their shared common values. Givers Gain is about growing successful businesses within the community they operate in. Hospice is about supporting communities in which people live. Doing good, is good for business. Both of our organisations share values of people connecting with people and developing relationships based on trust.

BNI and Hospice

Take time to reflect

We hope Hospice Awareness Week is an opportunity to step back and think about what living every moment means to you in a personal sense. In terms of the significance of ‘living every moment’, a lovely quote you may have heard before is from Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the Hospice movement. She said:

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

Hospices know that ‘living every moment’ looks different to everyone – for some people it might mean being able to spend time at home with their children, families and loved ones. For others, it might mean being able to sit on the beach watching the gulls, have a drink with old friends, spend time with their dog, listen to music, work on their hobby etc. Hospice care goes beyond people’s physical needs – it also encompasses the emotional, spiritual and social needs of a person and their family too – so that people can live their lives in whatever way is important to them.

Mary Schumacher, Chief Executive of Hospice New Zealand, says many people are surprised to learn that hospice nurses and members of the family support team visit people in their homes. “A lot of people think that hospice is a building where people go to die”, she explains. “But hospice is a philosophy of care. Our goal is to support people to live every moment in whatever way is important to them. Irrespective of where people live, that doesn’t change.”

The importance of hospice

Hospice is a hugely important organisation. In the past year, over 18,000 families have received care and support from hospice services across the country. They also supported these people’s family and whānau. All hospice services are provided free of charge to patients and their families, however support from the community is essential to meeting the shortfall in government funding. In 2016, hospices need to raise more than $45m nationally.

BNI started working with them in 2005 and members have now helped raise close to 1.5 million dollars for hospices around the country. This is an incredible figure and one to be celebrated. Here are five other key stats illustrating the importance of Hospice:

  1. Last year, 1 in 3 people who died in New Zealand were supported by hospice.
  2. People of all ages use hospice services. In 2016, 23 patients were over the age of 100, and 601 patients were under the age of 40.
  3. 86% of people who needed palliative care in the community (outside of public hospitals and aged residential care) were supported by hospice.
  4. 77% of the people who died supported by hospice were cared for in settings other than hospice inpatient units – such as at home, in hospitals or in aged residential care facilities.
  5. 51% of people who needed palliative care outside of public hospitals were supported by hospice.

Hospice care is holistic, considering a person’s physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs, and supporting their families, whānau and carers too. Remember, Hospice is not a building it is a philosophy of care. Hospice Awareness Week provides the perfect opportunity for BNI and Hospice NZ to celebrate this philosophy and our strong and enduring relationship.

Graham Southwell, National Director of BNI New Zealand 

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