New framework to address inequity for Māori in hospice care

Source: Te Karere

A new framework to improve the services for Māori whānau in hospice care has been launched.

Young person's hand holding old person's hand

By Isobel Prasad

Mauri Mate is a new palliative care structure, which focuses on the quality, equity and compassion of hospices in Aotearoa.

It's the first of its kind, with extensive collaboration between the Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (The Māori Medical Practitioners Association), Totara Hospice in South Auckland and Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.

It involves improving the access for Māori whānau, as well as increasing the cultural competence and awareness of staff in palliative care.

Māori clinicians, leaders and academics were brought together to ensure the framework was "by Māori, for Māori".

The collective told Te Karere the experience for Māori receiving this care needed to be "positively different".

"We really need to address this inequity, accessibility and quality to this service," said Dean Ogilvie, trustee of Totara Hospice.

Research and literature, as well as kōrero between health providers and the community, highlighted the need to improve the cultural safety and cultural value of Māori .

Totara Hospice CEO Tina McCafferty said "Māori tell us their experience of them being regarded as Tangata Whenua, as being understood in a different cultural way is often misunderstood at hospices".

Although there's no word at this stage on Mauri Mate being adopted nationally, there's hope the endorsement from Hospice New Zealand will help the framework be implemented in across other hospice care systems eventually.

"There's a big gap and it's going to be scary for some of the hospices, but the point is that we must address this inequity," said Mr Ogilvie.

"What's good for Māori is good for everyone anyway."

Ms McCafferty also said the framework wasn't bound to the palliative care system and could be used in residential, primary and secondary care.

"It's very much our hope that no matter where whānau appear in the system, that they're met wholly as a culture and met wholly in a way that respects them as Māori."