It is people who make the Hospice tick
Hospice Shops
Help the Hospice

Services at the Hospice

The Inpatient Unit located at 61 College Hill, Ponsonby, has been named the St Joseph's Unit in recognition of the original name of the hospice which first opened in 1979.

Caring for You. Inpatient Care

The St Joseph's Unit

BedroomOur skilled team provides professional and compassionate care in the well-appointed Inpatient Unit, situated on the upper floor of the hospice building.

There are currently 13 attractive, private contracted bedrooms, each with its own ensuite, Sky TV, stereo and DVD. Two further beds are available for future use.

Family and friends are welcome to use the kitchen, lounges and rest areas.


People may be referred to the unit by their General Practitioner, Specialist Doctor or Community Palliative Care Nurse in consultation with their GP.

Reasons for Admission

People are admitted for:-

  • symptom management - review of troublesome symptoms
  • respite care - usually for a six night stay, to allow time-out for patients, carers and family members
  • care in the final days of life - if care at home is no longer possible

Most admissions to the St Joseph’s Inpatient Unit are planned in advance and can usually be arranged within a few days. Additional support at home may be available from the Community Palliative Care Team until admission can be arranged.

The length of stay is decided on an individual basis with most patients returning to their own homes. Our unit is not able to provide long-term care.

Our Approach to Care

The care of patients in a hospice is different to care provided in an acute hospital. Our approach is determined by your needs. We aim to provide comfort and emotional support for you and your family, and active management of symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting. Throughout, we want to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. All our care is very much a team approach involving both the hospice staff and volunteers.

Nursing Care

Nurses StationContinuity of your care is very important. Each patient has a key nurse who oversees an agreed plan of care. Quality of time given is equally important, so the number of patients for whom each nurse cares is limited.

All our nurses are specially trained in palliative care with many years combined experience. At night, there are always two registered nurses on duty.

Medical Care

The Inpatient Medical Team comprises a palliative medicine specialist and registrar. Other doctors experienced in palliative care provide support after-hours and during holidays. There is a senior doctor available in the hospice during normal working hours and on call after hours.

Penny and doctorPatients are able to discuss any aspect of their medical care with the doctors. You are able to change your mind about any decisions you have made about your care, refuse treatment or seek a second opinion. The doctors work closely with nurses and other members of the hospice team and are able to meet with family members informally while seeing patients, or at an arranged time.

We try to accommodate complementary therapies and approaches to treatment, e.g. aromatherapy and massage, art and music therapy.

The doctors will keep your General Practitioner informed of progress and liaise with any other doctors involved in your care.

Caring for You and Your Family

Family Support Team

Providing emotional, social, cultural and spiritual support to our patients and their families is another important part of what we do. This is made up of specially trained counsellors, a social worker, cultural support staff and the Spiritual Support team. We also assist family, friends and carers cope with problems arising from the illness and rebuild their lives afterwards.


Our professional team is complemented by a group of carefully selected, trained and highly committed volunteers. During your stay in the Inpatient Unit you will meet volunteers who assist with hospitality and provide aromatherapy, art or music therapy, pet therapy and biography services. All volunteers wear a name badge and are easily identifiable.

Our Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for recruitment, training and support of this group.

View an A to Z Guide to the St Joseph's Unit for families and visitors

Back to Top