THE first patient we see is in his fifties and has terminal cancer. When diagnosed he was given under a month to live - that was 18 months ago. Carolyn says it is quite unusual to "plateau" like this, and acknowledges that it must be frustrating for him.
She visited the man before Christmas, and says his health has improved. The muscles in this once fit and active man's legs have wasted away - either due to the cancer or lack of use - but he is now getting up by himself and getting out and about.
His wife is still fit and active, and proudly states that the small dog she's just taken for a walk is named after the first hospice nurse who tended to her husband. She tells me she is now having to do things to help her husband that she never imagined, like enemas.
Carolyn is focused on ensuring the man is comfortable. How is his eating? How are his pain levels? While she does this, the dog - who had just been energetically playing and barking after it's walk - carefully climbs onto the patient's bed and nuzzles into his thigh, gently licking his hand, as if it knows it's owner is sick.
The large majority of Hospice's patients choose to die at home, and they are not always elderly.
"We have children on our books," Carolyn says.
We drive to the next house.
The second patient we see is in his 80s and has a stoma (hole in the trachea) which is fungating. That means the cancer has started eating away at the flesh, Carolyn explains.
She doesn't flinch as she watches the district nurse take off and reapply the man's dressing - which includes placing dressing inside the wound, which is so open you can see bone, and oozing. Next week Carolyn will do the dressing two days a week. As a nurse, these sort of tasks are second nature to her, she says.
Carolyn is only human. On particularly hard days she'll confide in her nurse colleagues, or utilise North Haven's support services. "I also have a great partner," she says.
"The community visits are often not as hands-on as in-patient nursing. The main thing we keep an eye on is whether things change - that's what we need to pick up on," she says.
There are aspects of her job that she loves.
"I like the contact with patients and their families - it really is a privilege to go into people's homes," she says.
The North Haven Hospice, based in Tikipunga, has 32 community and in-patient nurses.
This week the Northern Advocate is running a series of stories to mark Hospice Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 13 to Friday 17 May.
In tomorrow's Advocate, Lindy Laird speaks to Lale Alldred, the new North Haven Hospice Maori liaison nurse (Te Tumu Manaaki).