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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Getting help with palliative care

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Caring for someone who has a life-limiting illness is very much a team effort. The dying person and their whānau/family are right at the centre of that team. The main goal is to help the person live their life as fully and comfortably as possible.

Canterbury has the Nurse Maude Hospice Palliative Care Service and the Christchurch Hospital Palliative Care Service. They work alongside general practice teams, district nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals to provide the best possible care.

Care is always tailored to an individual’s needs. Many people are well managed by their general practice team and district nurse and do not need specialist palliative care. Other need help with a specific issue for a short period of time while a few may need support over longer periods.

General practice team

General practice teams are the main providers of palliative care. They work with other services when necessary.

If you need to find a general practice team, you can search on this map.

Community-based health services

You may already be receiving care from a community team. For example, Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation Community Services or Community Mental Health Services. This team can continue to provide care. It can also get advice and help from the Specialist Palliative Care Service if needed.

District nurses and domestic assistance

District nurses and healthcare assistants provide nursing care and treatment for people who stay in their own home.

Domestic assistance provides a support worker who comes to your house to help with daily tasks, such as laundry, vacuuming, dusting, dishes, making the bed, preparing meals and essential shopping.

District nursing and domestic assistance are free for people receiving palliative care at home. Ask your GP to arrange this for you. You'll be allocated one of the three district nursing and domestic assistance providers in urban Canterbury or one of the five providers in rural Canterbury.

Urban providers

Rural providers

Residential care staff

If you're in residential care (a rest home, hospital level or dementia care) you will not receive district nursing or domestic assistance services. The residential care staff will look after you and provide the help you need.


All hospitals in Canterbury provide palliative care. Their services include:

The Christchurch Hospital Palliative Care Service works alongside the general hospital team to care for patients in Christchurch Hospital, Burwood Hospital, Christchurch Women's Hospital and Hillmorton Hospital. If you go home from hospital, this team can help make sure you're referred to appropriate community services, including specialist teams if required.

There is also a palliative care team based at Ashburton Hospital.

Your doctor or a hospital specialist can refer you to the hospital-based services. If you think you or a family member or friend might need the team's help, talk to a member of the healthcare team about this.

Nurse Maude palliative care services

The Nurse Maude Hospice Palliative Care Service provides specialist palliative care for people in their homes or in the Nurse Maude Hospice. It also supports staff in rest homes and private hospitals.

The Nurse Maude team includes:

If your symptoms or disease are causing you significant distress, the Specialist Palliative Care Service may need to see you. The service will help you manage your needs and talk to your GP about the best options for your care.

Talk to your doctor or other health provider if you feel you would benefit from being referred to the Specialist Palliative Care Service.

The Nurse Maude Hospice

The Nurse Maude Hospice specialises in caring for people who need palliative care. Your GP, hospital doctor or other health professional can refer you to the hospice for:

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Financial support in palliative care

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2020.

Page reference: 35080

Review key: HIPAL-17434