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“Our job is to listen, and to hear.” DAV I D M OY N A N , C H A P L A I N

Suzanne Kirk, daughter of Robert (Bob) Aldrich, recalls her father being admitted to hospice one night with severe pain. He was very anxious. A volunteer stayed with him all night. “He knew someone was with him all the time, which helped him feel more comfortable.” The new spacious 10-bed hospice in Stoke, opened in April this year, is delightful. It feels airy, calming and welcoming. The gardens have been landscaped so that the view from every patient’s room will eventually be lush and colourful. Winding paths lead to a fountain at the back. When people are dealing with serious health issues, having a beautiful, wheelchair-accessible outdoor environment is crucial in letting them ‘feed the senses’ – smell the flowers, hear the birds, feel the wind in their hair and the sun on their face. Other features include a room for those wanting a place to be quiet and to reflect, a day clinic for patients to come in for essential specialist short-term treatment, and enough space for family/whānau to stay overnight in the room with the patient. David Moynan has already witnessed the benefit of the larger rooms in allowing a patient, when facing death, to be the person they’ve been throughout their life. “For example, if someone has been the heart of their family/whānau, it’s important that all their loved ones can be in the room with them, without it feeling overcrowded or overbearing.” Six apartments behind the hospice can accommodate family from out of town. It is hoped that eventually both the café and education suite – which will be hired out to community groups – will bring locals to the new building, helping to integrate it into the wider community.

A good man

Bob Aldrich was a mechanic by trade. A quiet man, he was married to Muriel for 52 years. When I asked her what she liked Above: Clockwise - An ambient setting for respite care; Muriel Aldrich holding a photo of her granddaughter’s hands in Bob’s; a peaceful garden setting; Suzanne Kirk 48

“It takes such a special person to do what they do.” S U Z Y A L D R I C H , PAT I E N T B O B ’ S DAU G H T E R

about her husband, she simply said, “Everything. We enjoyed each other’s company. We trusted each other.” They had three daughters: Christine, Karyn and Suzanne (Suzy). A protective, loving father, Bob’s heart melted when granddaughters Lucy and Olivia were born. He attended every birthday party, every school event – still wearing his workshop overalls with grease under his fingernails. In 2017 Bob fell from a ladder and broke several ribs. Investigations revealed he had stage 3 myeloma (bone marrow cancer). Bob was part of a pilot study – which has since become standard procedure – aimed at strengthening the palliative care service by improving communication and integration between Nelson Hospital and Nelson Tasman Hospice. Daughter Suzy describes it as an amazing concept. “Hospice began to be involved in Dad’s care prior to his being discharged from hospital, so we didn’t have to work out how to connect with the hospice team. It meant a smooth transition of care, which was a huge relief during such a stressful, emotional time. Dad’s health declined so quickly that no-one had their head around it.” Suzy says the hospice team were so respectful, patient and caring of every family member and their needs during what was the most traumatic time of their lives.

Profile for WildTomato

WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...

WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...