Cost of dying too high

13/08/2008

Otago Community Hospice  has received offers of fundraising help since it announced on Monday the deficit it was facing would force it to reduce services.

But Chief Executive Ginny Green said inadequatre Government funding would continue to be a problem.

Several offers of support followed an announcement on Monday the hospice would be closing four beds and day respite care services, as it faces a $300,000 deficit going into the next financial year.

Government funding, given through the Otago District Health Board, had not kept pace with increasing wage costs and rising patient numbers at the hospice, and the shortfall raised by the community was already more than $1 million, Ms Green said.

If the community did rally to raise the $300,000 deficit, the board would have to carefully consider the next step, as the following year it would likely be in the same situation with a $500,000 deficit, she said.

“The fundamental issue is that government is not funding us appropriately and the community has already contributed so much.”

There will never be enough money for health and hospices don’t expect all their costs to be covered by public funding. But when the gap between that funding and costs is so big it threatens the invaluable services they provide for terminally ill people and their families the solution requires more than philanthropy.


Household Guide To Dying

06/08/2008

It’s not easy to write about death and dying. It is even more difficult to do it without becoming maudlin or resorting to cliches.

Debra Adelaide not only does it in The Household Guide to Dying she does it well.

Delia, the heroine of the story is the best-selling author of household guides. When she is diagnosed with terminal cancer she responds by writing about it with the same attention to detail she applied to domestic duties in her previous guides. The first-person account of living and dying is written with warmth, humour, depth of feeling and realism.

But realistic as it might be, The Household Guide is fiction. Over at Annie Fox, Anna Wolf is writing about real life dying. She not only does it well she does it without self pity. Her matter of fact approach to life with a brain tumour and her courage are both humbling and inspiring.


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