Marking Hospice Care Week with seven of the less well-known facts associated with hospice care

Aurora (left) is St Barnabas House's dementia lead nurse who is developing services to become more dementia friendly, while Margaret (right) is a volunteer who knits 'twiddlemuffs'
Aurora (left) is St Barnabas House's dementia lead nurse who is developing services to become more dementia friendly, while Margaret (right) is a volunteer who knits 'twiddlemuffs'

To mark Hospice Care Week, which runs from October 3 to 9, Worthing hospice St Barnabas House has shared some of the less well-known facts associated with hospice care to dispel some of the common misconceptions people have about hospices.

This week is Hospice Care Week which is about highlighting the extraordinary care that hospices provide, particularly the things that people would not normally know about.

St Barnabas is a charity whose aim is to provide high quality specialist palliative care both within the hospice and in the comfort of patients’ homes treating adults with advanced progressive life-limiting illnesses.

The hospice’s list is as follows:

Hospice care is… not just for people with cancer

Sam Skilton, marketing co-ordinator, said: “Here at St Barnabas House we have recently created a new specialist nursing service with four new dedicated nurse specialists who will be working across key areas of care.

“Our new nurses will ensure we are able to provide a specialist care for patients with Renal Failure, Liver Failure and Heart Failure, and improve our existing services to meet the needs of people living with Dementia.

“We are very proud to be leading the way as one of the first UK hospices to bring in such specialist staff.

“Find out more about our Hospice Care Pioneers developments at www.stbh.org.uk/hospicecarepioneers.”

Hospice care is… absolutely free and only partially funded by the NHS

Sam said: “Did you know that all of the services provided by St Barnabas House are absolutely free of charge, but we only receive 21 per cent statutory funding?

“Most of the £5.9 million it costs to provide all of our care services throughout the year comes from fundraising and through people’s donations.

“Find out how to make a donation or get involved with fundraising for St Barnabas House at www.stbh.org.uk/donate or www.stbh.org.uk/fundraising.”

Hospice care is… not just based around a building

Sam said: “During the mid-1960s, when Dr Gusterson first proposed the idea of St Barnabas, there were a high number of cancer deaths occurring in the area, either at home or in commercial nursing homes. People would generally come to the hospice for the end of their lives.

“But since then, developments in healthcare have enabled an increasing number of people to comfortably live the end of their lives in their own homes.

“In 2012 we launched our Hospice at Home service, and last year we were able to provide “hands on care” at home for 429 patients, providing 5,690 hours of care in the local community, plus an additional 3,717 hours night visits.

“Find out more about our Hospice at Home service at www.stbh.org.uk/hospice-at-home.”

Hospice care is… not just for those in their final days

Sam said: “Over many years we have developed our hospice care services to enable us to provide care and support for those who aren’t just in their final days.

“Our Day Hospice provides respite care for the day and runs a range of activities and social events for people with life-limiting conditions at various different stages. It provides an informal setting for mutual support, enhancing confidence and wellbeing.

“On some occasions people will come into our In-patient Unit and their condition will improve enough for them to be discharged.

“It also doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re 18 or 98, the care services we provide are available to any adult with an advanced life-limiting condition or terminal illness who needs our help.

“Find out more about being referred to St Barnabas House by visiting www.stbh.org.uk/referral-process.”

Hospice care is… about supporting the whole family

Sam said: “At St Barnabas we know how difficult a time it can be when a family member or someone close to you is diagnosed with a serious illness. It can be a distressing, frightening and lonely time, which leaves you with a sense of helplessness and loss of control.

“There are a whole range of different services we provide to support the families of those we care for, including counselling, chaplaincy, bereavement support and our Carers Group.

“Find out more about the support provided by our Family Services team at www.stbh.org.uk/families.”

Hospice care is… about creating special memories

Sam said: “It’s easy to think that the final few days, weeks or months of life is about reminiscing about the past, but at St Barnabas House we always look to provide special memories and experiences for the people we care for.

“For example, we were recently visited by a group of Harley Davidsons. For one lady from the Day Hospice in particular, this was a truly special experience as she used to be a rocker and had not been on a Harley Davidson in over 30 years.

“Find out more about the Day Hospice at www.stbh.org.uk/dayhospice.”

Hospice care is… about living, not dying

Sam said: “As much as hospice care is about providing care for those with terminal illnesses, it is also about ensuring that those people are able to live their lives as fully as possible.

“‘Wellbeing’ is the name we give to rehabilitative palliative care – enabling patients not to simply continue living, but to maximise their physical and mental health; giving them the chance to achieve a better quality of life, for longer.

“To enable this, we have to reach people earlier, so we will be promoting St Barnabas’ rehabilitative care service as soon as possible following a diagnosis.

“Over the next few years, we will continue to develop our internal clinical and support service to improve the experience of those we care for.

“Find out more about our Hospice Care Pioneers developments at www.stbh.org.uk/hospicecarepioneers.”

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