During 1982-1983 a group of people in Franklin became concerned with the distances terminally ill patients had to travel for treatment and the stress this put on them and their families. Similarly, the fact that if they were admitted to Greenlane or Auckland hospitals it made it difficult for families and friends to visit and often, contact with the family GP was lost at the very time the patient and family needed the most support.
In 1986 a public meeting was called in Pukekohe and it was decided to establish the Franklin Hospice Charitable Trust. Initially, the Hospice operation was based entirely on volunteer support.
As the work of Hospice inevitably grew, the demands on the time and commitment of the volunteer Management Committee and Co-ordinators increased - particularly in the provision of a 24-hour telephone service. Assistance from a small number of part-time paid staff provided some relief and on a progressive basis, more of the administrative and coordination roles were taken over by paid staff and in 2001, two Community Co-ordinators were employed part-time. A Community Palliative Care Nursing Service was started in 2003 when two part-time registered nurses were employed.
Today the service has grown to five registered nurses on staff and counselling, and spiritual and cultural support provided by external providers. A normal patient load is 50 to 60 patients at any one time.
The majority of the work done by Hospice continues to be made possible by the wonderful support of our volunteers and the community. Our shop ‘Simply Giving’ at 27 King Street in Pukekohe is a major fundraiser for the Hospice and we thank all those people of Franklin for the generous donations our shop receives. Because the shop is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, more than 75% of the revenue goes directly to fund services (the rest meets the cost of running the shop). With the shop, donations and bequests, the Franklin community provides over 50% of the operational costs of Franklin Hospice. The Government, through a contract with the Counties Manukau District Health Board, provides the balance.