Palliative care funds entrusted to Advance Ashburton

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The business of dying is different for everyone. People who are terminally ill often don’t want to be a bother, to take up time or resources; their families are often caught in that bubble too.

Small things, like money to top up cellphones so families can stay connected during final months, or money to buy special foods more easily tolerated by tummies upset from cancer drugs, make a world of difference.

For the past 30 years, the Ashburton Palliative Care Charitable Trust has been trying to ease those financial loads on Mid Canterbury people. But it is winding up its affairs and handing the job over to Advance Ashburton, along with a $61,500 donation that will be invested and used to continue to help people in palliative care.

The Advance Ashburton Community Foundation currently has about $11 million invested on behalf of the community and uses the interest to fund a wide range of projects and initiatives.

Executive officer Sandi Wood said applications for financial hardship grants for palliative care purposes would be processed quickly, as time was often short for those who would benefit.

She said nine out of 10 palliative care grants were made by people on behalf of palliative care patients because many terminally ill people didn’t want to be a bother. Advance Ashburton wants to grow the profile of the palliative care fund so more people and their families benefit.

The good work by the Ashburton Palliative Care Charitable Trust began back in 1996 when the trust began to promote the palliative care philosophy, work done today by Hospice Mid Canterbury.

It is about supporting people at the end of their life, providing equipment and resources and advancing palliative care education for nurses and other health professionals.

There were early ideas about a hospice building in Ashburton, but the costs of clinical care are too high. Ashburton Hospital provides two hospice-type rooms for patients and their families when needed.

Members of the palliative care trust met recently to officially hand over money it had been bequeathed over the years. Some $30,000 came from a winter ball and Ashburton Altrusa holds an annual Tree of Remembrance fundraiser.

Trustee Christine Dean said people have benefited from grants to enjoy a better quality of life, families have felt supported with less financial pressure and in some cases the dreams of a dying person have been realised.

Christine said Advance Ashburton would continue the trust’s work now by processing the grant applications and accepting any other bequests or donations for the palliative care fund.