Angela Thomas is helping meet the growing demand for hospice services across Central Otago.

Mrs Thomas has joined the Otago Community Hospice team as a community co-ordinator, a role which was established following a spike in patient numbers over the past year.

The team, which has an office in Cromwell, cares for about 50 patients throughout the region. This time last year the service had 32 patients.

“It’s been busy [for the team] for a while and that’s what’s made my role available,” she said.

Mrs Thomas, who was previously an intensive care nurse at Dunedin Hospital, brings a range of attributes to her new role, including a critical thinking and holistic background.

She was looking forward to putting those skills to work in Central Otago and the opportunity to work with people in the community she now called home.

Mrs Thomas is one of five people working for the hospice in a similar capacity.

However, they each have a particular focus, including one who has an occupational therapy background.

Another is a nurse practitioner and two are registered nurses.

“We all go out and see people and see what we can do to help them, and facilitate what they need. But, we all have different backgrounds and bring different things to the role.”

Mrs Thomas started work with the hospice last week and was welcomed with a morning tea.

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green was pleased to have Mrs Thomas on board.

Her arrival came at an exciting time for the hospice which, last week, found out it would receive “a very generous three-year commitment”, to the tune of almost $70,000 each year, Ms Green said.

That financial backing, along with a further $35,000 grant from the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust, had the hospice team feeling lucky to be well supported, she said.

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