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Capital & Coast DHB Palliative Care Service

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What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is care and support for people of all ages with a life-limiting illness.

It's aim is to help improve physical and psychological well-being, reduce discomfort, minimise distress, help plan for an uncertain future, and support family/whanau and other caregivers.

What is a life limiting illness?

A life-limiting illness is one that cannot be cured and may at some time result in the person dying -  be that years, months, weeks or days away. 

Such conditions might include bronchitis/emphysema, heart failure, dementia, motor neurone disease, kidney or liver failure at a point where they get more troublesome despite therapy aimed at stabilising or improving them. 

Other conditions may include cancers that can’t be cured but might still be responsive to drugs or radiation treatment.

Occasionally palliative care is helpful where the treatment hope and aim is for cure/full recovery, and there is also significant uncertainty about whether this will happen. 

When is Palliative Care Helpful?

Palliative care can be really helpful at all stages of living with a life-limiting illness.

It is often best introduced early on – sometimes even at the point it first becomes clear what is wrong.  

It can be helpful at any time, even when someone is having intensive treatments, for instance chemotherapy for cancer or renal dialysis for kidney failure.

In other words, palliative care could be there to provide support, help and comfort at those times when illness is causing major problems or distress both for you, and/or your care-givers.

Who Provides Palliative Care and Where?
Excellent basic palliative care is provided by all health care practitioners - from GPs, District Nurses, and Residential Care Facilities, through to hospital based clinical services.

Specialist palliative care in the community - in someones home, and in an inpatient unit - is provide by the Mary Potter Hospice.

Specialist palliative care in Wellington Regional and Kenepuru Hospitals is provided through the Hospital Palliative Care Service.

The two specialist services work closely together so that where ever you are, one or the other service is available to support you.

What Specific Services are Available if I'm at Home or in a Residential Care facility?
Mary Potter Hospice is a community-based service, providing specialist palliative care services to the people of Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti.

The service is free to all patients.

It  provides coordinated support through a team of nurses, doctors, social workers, councellors, spiritual care workers, and occupational therapists.

There are four teams: three community teams in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti; and an inpatient service in Newtown, Wellington.

The hospice teams work closely with Primary Health Organisations, District Nurses, and other community based services.

Care is available in people’s homes, residential facilities, day unit, outpatient clinics, and as an inpatient at the hospice.

How Can Palliative Care Help When you are in Hospital?
The hospital palliative care team can often help out and offer you and your family support, relief, comfort, information, choice and expertise in many different situations. These might include: 

  • times when your illness is causing discomfort, for example bothersome pain or shortness of breath, or nausea and vomiting. We may be able to help ease these symptoms and improve your comfort.
  • periods when your thoughts and feelings are distressing. Having someone to help you talk through and address these things can often make a major difference.
  • occasions when your illness may be having a big impact elsewhere in your life – maybe with your partner, children, whanau, work or perhaps financial affairs. Professional support and advice in these situations can often help you find solutions and resolve some of your concerns.
  • you may also be faced with decisions and choices that are confusing or difficult to make during your illness. The palliative care team may be able to help explain things to you, and help you find answers that you feel most comfortable with. 
  • on leaving hospital you may need ongoing support and care. The palliative care team is often able to link in with the right services for you.

We also recognise that sometimes nature is stronger than any medical treatments we have on offer. When this happens and death is close, it is extremely important that you get the care in hospital that will support you and your family and whanau, meet your wishes and needs, and also keep you comfortable. The palliative care team may be involved in your care during these times too.

Who are the Hospital Palliative Care Team?
Our team consists of specially trained nurses and specialist doctors. We work together with the specialist who is in charge of your care and his or her team. That means we do not take over your care. Instead we work alongside both you and your primary hospital team during your stay in hospital.

Dr Fiona Bailey: Palliative Medicine Consultant and Clinical Leader

Dr Emma McMenamin: Palliative Medicine Consultant

Dr Philip Daniel: Palliative Medicine Consultant

Dr Sean Lance: Registrar

Alison Rowe: Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care

Gabrielle Driscoll: Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care

Janice Tijsen: Clinical Nurse Specialist Palliative Care

Justine O'Sullivan: Clinical Nurse Specialist Palliative Care


Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.

  • Dr Jonathan Adler

    Consultant Palliative Medicine, Hospital Palliative Care Service

    Available at all locations.

  • Dr Fiona Bailey

    Consultant Palliative Medicine and Clinical Leader, Hospital Palliative Care Service

    Available at all locations.

  • Dr Annabel Dunn

    Mary Potter Hospice Consultant in Palliative Care

    Not available on location.

  • Dr Brian Ensor

    Mary Potter Hospice Director of Palliative Care

    Not available on location.

  • Dr Susan Hamilton

    Mary Potter Hospice Consultant

    Not available on location.

  • Dr Emma McMenamin


    Available at all locations.

  • Dr Janet Turnbull

    Mary Potter Hospice Consultant in Palliative Care

    Not available on location.

Referral Expectations

Your primary care team may discuss with you the possibility of someone from a specialist palliative care service being involved in your care.

Hospital Referrals:

If you say yes, we would normally be with you within one working day, sometimes more quickly if matters are urgent.
If you feel that you would like our input, but have not been referred, ask a member of the team looking after you.

If you still have questions about who we are or how we can help, you are welcome to contact us through our email or the hospital switchboard. Other staff in the hospital may also be able to answer your questions. There are also leaflets explaining all about us in more detail.

Hospice Referrals:

A member from Mary Potter Hospice will contact you after receiving a referral from your primary healthcare team.

Link to Mary Potter Hospice

Contact Details

General Enquiries: (04) 385 5999
Fax: (04) 385 5856

Emergency Department: Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (04) 385 5999

Level 6
Grace Neill Block
Wellington Hospital
Riddiford Street
Wellington 6021

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Street Address

Level 6
Grace Neill Block
Wellington Hospital
Riddiford Street
Wellington 6021

Postal Address

Palliative Care Service
Level 6 - Grace Neill Block
Private Bag 7902
New Zealand

This page was last updated at 11:55AM on December 4, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Capital & Coast DHB Palliative Care Service.