The Waipuna Hospice is set to receive a boost in government funding but the organisation is running at capacity.
Patient numbers have increased 13.6 per cent in the past year and new referrals have jumped 15.5 per cent.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said an extra $2.8 million was being pumped into Bay of Plenty hospice services over the next four years, with Waipuna Hospice and Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty benefiting from the cash injection.
"The extra funding means the teams at these hospices will be able to better support terminally ill people at home and in aged-care facilities," Dr Coleman said.
But Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow said it had been concerned "for many years now in how sustainable the service will be into the future", and had been told the funding for each hospice would be calculated based on population.
"We, as yet, don't have an exact figure."
It was likely a proportion of the funding would be used for areas of the service that were under pressure, Dr Thurlow said.
"These areas are our medical team, community nursing team and family support team."
Most patients were cared for in their own home by the hospice-at-home nursing team.
The in-patient unit had nine large beds and had seen only some of those patients but it forecast there would be 285 admissions in 2015.
However, numbers were expected to increase dramatically over the next 40 years as the Baby Boomers came through the healthcare system.
"The number of people dying over the age of 95 is forecast to be significant by 2068 increasing from about 6 per cent of all deaths in 2015 to 30 per cent by 2068.
"The 85 to 94 age group will increase from 31 per cent to 48 per cent over the same time period.
"These numbers are going to be important in planning for services into the future and highlight the need for planning for our increasing population of elderly."
Dr Thurlow said it could not provide its services without the support of the local community, volunteers and donors that "enable the service to go beyond a level of service that would be possible if we ran the service at a level provided by DHB funding alone.
"I know that our patients and families are hugely grateful for this support."
However, the Waipuna Hospice still had to raise $2.5 million a year or $48,000 a week to meet costs, he said.
By the numbers
¦In 2013, more than 15,000 people received care and support from hospice services throughout New Zealand.
¦Hospice staff made over 145,000 home visits nationally.
¦Just over 20 per cent of people using hospice services were aged under 60 and three-quarters had a cancer-related disease.