Latest news 1 November 2019|Providing support to bereaved Whaanau/Families in their time of need has been at the heart of the Middlemore Hospital-based Bereavement Care Service for 25 years.
The service is unique to CM Health and has helped around 24,000 families who have lost loved ones in the hospital since it was first contracted by the DHB in 1994.
Team leader Ray Wells and Assistant Team Leader Glenda Kitney manage a team of co-ordinators who have been with the service for a number of years and all are passionate about their roles.
“We are here to help Whaanau by providing a dignified environment and some guidance as they go through the grieving process, and the transition of their loved one through the hospital,” says Mr Wells.
“We work across all areas of the hospital, including all Wards, Maternity, Manukau Super Clinic, Otara Spinal Unit and Mangere Dialysis Unit. This means there is a central point of call for staff, family and other related services like Funeral Directors, Police, Ambulance, Coronial Services and Medical Referees.”
The team leaders, alongside fellow Bereavement Care team members Kola Fue, Shelly Pomare, Julia Namulau’ulu, Inayah Zanif and Shiri Te Whatu co-ordinate and manage the transition of the family and deceased patient from the ward through to the release of the deceased person from the hospital.
As well as liaising with Chaplaincy, Interpreting and Maaori and Pacific services, they also work with funeral directors when the family appoints one, and assist the medical staff with the documentation required to enable the smooth release of a loved one back to families.
“What is quite surprising is that many people don’t know what they need to do when they lose a family member. We answer their questions and are here to ensure they know that someone cares,” says Ms Kitney.
“We have dealt with many families who come to us upset and concerned about what to do next. They leave feeling a little calmer, and reassured, knowing what they need to do, and what will be managed for them.”
Mr Wells adds that while every day is different, their focus remains on ensuring families and their loved ones are looked after.
“One of the key benefits of the team is just being there for someone. This can sometimes bring a sense of peace at a very distressing time for the whanaau.”