A referral is normally made by a person's own GP or hospital doctor. A district nurse may also make a referral. In most areas people can also contact the hospice directly to discuss what support might be available - please click here to find your nearest hospice service.
People are usually referred to their nearest hospice or palliative care service, but in special circumstances out-of-area referrals may be considered.
People may be referred for hospice care as soon as a diagnosis is made, not just at the very end of life. Once a person's palliative care needs have been met, they may be discharged from the service. However, they can be reassessed at any time after this if their condition changes.
In New Zealand hospice services are independent charitable organisations providing care and support free of charge.
Whilst free to people using hospice services it costs a lot to provide, in 2016 it will cost just over $100M nationally.
As an essential health service provider, hospice services receive the majority of funding from Government; but financial support from the community is essential to meet the shortfall – in 2016 the total required from fundraising efforts is in excess of $38M nationally.