Cabinet minister and MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has officially opened the Shalom end-of-life suite at the Kapiti Retirement Trust's Sevenoaks site.

The Shalom suite is the latest development by the trust to extend its charitable service to the Kāpiti community.

The construction of the Shalom suite, located within the Matai Wing, the trust's dedicated respite facility at Sevenoaks, occurred thanks to a generous benefactor who has funded the construction of the unit.

Inside the Shalom end-of-life suite.
Inside the Shalom end-of-life suite.

Other donations, including one from the Kāpiti branch of the Nikau Foundation, have paid for the fit-out of the suite, along with specialist equipment, including a state of the art care bed which can meet the requirements of those with the most complex of health conditions.

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While the infrastructure has been funded by donations, the trust will meet the ongoing shortfall in operating the unit.

Kapiti Retirement Trust chief executive Wendy Huston was delighted with the development of this second end-of-life suite but noted "that without a financial commitment being made by the trustees this initiative would not be possible".

"To provide the high level of care and the range of support services required, the trust has to accept the operating of these services comes at a significant financial loss annually.

"This is met by using trust funds generated by the operating of the trust's retirement village."

She said the latest development had occurred to meet a local need, in that Kāpiti does not have an in-patient hospice.

"With the cost of building one so prohibitive, it is doubtful we will see such a development locally in the near future.

"This leaves those who are diagnosed as approaching the end of their life with two choices: be cared for at home or, in the final stage, be admitted to the Mary Potter Hospice in central Wellington.

"The logistics of this can be nightmarish for family members living locally.

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"While care at home is what many hope for and the ongoing support provided by Mary Potter Hospice is just superb, sometimes the reality of managing at home is just not viable.

"Death is not tidy and this stage may continue for weeks, even months.

"Home is not always the ideal place for the required care to happen."

She said the trust was indebted to staff from Mary Potter Hospice, both locally and Wellington based for working well with their staff to ensure appropriate care occurs and people got the support they needed.

"The trust will now be operating two end-of-life suites where family members and friends can come and go as they wish 24/7, with their focus being to support and love.

"Trust staff will deliver the high quality care the Sevenoaks Lodge is renowned for.

"Dealing with end of life is what our clinical staff do.

"The aim always is that this is done with respect and dignity, always cognisant that for every person and family it will be a totally personal and different journey."