Dove Hospice & Wellness
An interview with our DOVE HOUSE Clinical Services Manager, Patricia Melville.
On a rainy Auckland Wednesday afternoon, Patricia Melville, our Clinical Services Manager sat down with our marketing team in one of the warm and relaxing family meeting rooms at Dove House in Glendowie. Patricia has been with Dove Hospice for many years, and we could tell by the way she talked about Dove House and the organisation that she enjoys her role immensely.
Our team wanted to find out more from Trish about the services on offer from Dove House.
Q. Trish, can you tell us a bit about your role with Dove Hospice.
Sure. So, I have been working for Dove Hospice at DOVE HOUSE for 11 years now. I came from a community nursing role and used to refer patients on behalf of the Cancer Society to Dove House where patients received holistic therapies complimenting their traditional medical treatments.
In my time working at Dove House, it has become apparent that the holistic services offered are very highly regarded by patients. Also, Dove House is now recognised by many health professionals as a place to refer patients to provide balance or to “bridge a gap”.
Dove Hospice provides a different model of care to the traditional Hospice service. Dove supports people with life threatening illnesses from the point of diagnosis. It assists them on their journey either to recovery and wellness or alternatively to the end of life.
Q. Can you explain in a bit more detail what the ‘support’ is that Dove House offer?
We are proud to offer a range of out-patient holistic treatments, support groups and workshops. We have a three bed specialist palliative care wing within St Andrew’s Hospital facility. There are two beds for End of Life Care and one for Respite Care.
Dove House is located within the St Andrew’s Village grounds, in Glendowie.
The holistic services we provide are free of charge and in liaison with the patient’s doctor and specialists, compliments and supports their treatments and softens their journey.
Dealing with serious life-changing health issues is generally felt to be extremely challenging and frightening. We are here to support our community and the suffering being experienced by patients and their family members. Our aim is to enable and empower, and our team does this with compassion, empathy, and excellence.
Q. How can someone from our community receive Dove’s services?
We receive referrals from Oncology Clinics, Cancer Society, Leukaemia and Blood Cancer, Sweet Louise, and other specialist organisations. Referrals for 24 hour care in Dove Wing are received from hospital Palliative Care teams and other hospices, for example Mercy Hospice.
We also accept ‘self-referrals’ from within our community. These can be made on our website. All referrals undergo an assessment process. Our specialist nurses appraise the persons health information and how best our organisation can support them on their health journey. This includes the complexities around medications and any side effects they may be experiencing. After gathering this information, a plan of care is formulated with the patient.
Q. Can you tell us a bit more about the services and workshops that Dove House offer?
We offer a range of holistic therapies, counselling, support groups and workshops. We are fortunate to have an outstanding multi-talented clinical team. Our body therapists have various health care backgrounds including nursing, radiation therapist, physio and counselling. They practice a mix of holistic disciplines including reiki, reflexology, and massage. All of our therapists are qualified in Oncology Massage which is very gentle and safe. We also provide lymphoedema treatment, skin and nail support (needed due to side effects of chemotherapy) and physiotherapy.
We have an experienced team of psychotherapists to provide emotional support for patients, carers and the bereaved. Dr Kidd provides Medical Counselling, speaking to patients about treatment decisions, living with uncertainty and managing thoughts among other topics.
As an example, one of our longstanding and popular groups is the ‘Orchid Group’ for people with advanced disease. This support group is facilitated by a Dove House counsellor and nurse and gives patients an opportunity to talk through their challenges, to connect with other patients, to share experiences and the opportunity to learn various ways and means to manage their wellness journey.
Other groups and workshops are:
Young Persons Group
Living with Bereavement Morning Tea
Return to Wellness
Art Therapy Group
Dementia Carers Group
Look Good Feel Better Workshop
Q. How does a patient benefit from attending a workshop/s?
The benefits from workshops and support groups are many and varied. The support that patients can offer each other is invaluable. Learning from each other, that someone is taking a similar journey, understanding the complexities around their health challenges, and identifying the strength and courage in others. Laughing at the unexpected can also be ‘the best medicine’ as clichéd as that may sound. The personal connections made in these workshops are very authentic and raw.
Our service also extends to the carers of our patients. This is an emotional time for them and through holistic treatments and our workshops they are provided extra support.
Q. After 11 years with DOVE, what is the one thing you like about working for Dove?
(A big smile covers Trish’s face as she contemplates to reply to this question) ….
Over the 11 years that I have worked at Dove House, I have been amazed at how the service has evolved. Dove House is unique in that it supports people from the point of diagnosis of a serious life-threatening illness, at no cost, right through to a return to wellness or to the end of life.
I am immensely proud to reflect upon the continual growth and learning the organisation has undergone. The amazing people within it. It is a service that is able to recognise and respond to need. Being creative, adaptable and confident enough to pave new ways to continually improve the patient experience is a real strength of our organisation.
‘Dove Hospice and Wellness’ is a true and fitting description of our service. I feel it is an organisation full of caring, innovative and spirited forward thinkers. I am so looking forward to observing the Dove Hospice service and excited to see its future development. With a team like ours, and I mean from commercial right through to clinical, I feel that “The Sky really is the Limit”!
To find our more about Dove Hospice and learn about our services please visit www.dovehospice.org.nz.