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Hospice: The Out and About Club

A snap of Hospice Wairarapa’s Out and About trip to Castlepoint. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Emily Ireland

Kirsten Johnston at Hospice Wairarapa has a pretty special job.

She is the programme co-ordinator of the Out and About Club – a monthly outing for Wairarapa Hospice patients and their caregivers.

There is plenty to see and do in the region, but it’s Kirsten’s job to choose what will give people the best mood boost, and plan how the day will run.

The Out and About club started in October, 2016 with a trip to Wild Oats in Carterton and Cobblestones Museum.

There were four patients who took part in the adventure, and the trip ended with ice creams on the way home.

Nowadays, some trips cater for up to 30 people and have included visits to Pukaha National Wildlife Centre, playing mini golf, visiting Regent 58 Brewery, and having a picnic and paddle at Castlepoint.

“They don’t even mind where they go – it’s just about getting out of the house or out of the rest home and having some fun,” Kirsten said.

“Some of them are still quite mobile, but the ones that aren’t they would just be sitting at home, which is quite sad.”

At any given time, there are about 120 people in the Wairarapa Hospice care network, however this includes patients and their caregiver.

“I do my best to have some fun and make them laugh, and be silly, so that their focus is on the day, and not how their body is.

“I enjoy it – it’s quite tiring, but it’s nice to see people having fun and enjoying themselves.”

There has been a lot of positive feedback about the Out and About club, and Kirsten keeps a record of all of it.

“I had an array of emotions,” one participant said.

Others say it is “nice to do something different” and that they had an “amazing time”.

Hospice Wairarapa general manager Suzie Adamson said the Out and About Club was important because “it brings the normality back in our patients’ lives, where social contact and a new topic of conversation can be made”.

“And it is something positive to look forward to, thanks to the support we get from businesses in our community either sponsoring the outing or making a donation or discount at their venue we visit.

“Most importantly, Out and About follows our Hospice ethos of making every day count.”

If your business would like to sponsor an outing – bus hire, entry tickets, and food, please contact Suzie the general manager on 06 929 7504.

This is the third in a 10-part Midweek series bringing awareness to the community about Hospice Wairarapa in an effort to increase support for the charity.

Next week: Bereavement support

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