We’re fundraising for 11 local hospices through our Community Champions scheme, including St Barnabas Hospice.
Inpatient facilities, end-of-life care, bereavement support for families, and more – hospices offer a range of vital services to our communities, enabling terminally ill patients to live the remainder of their lives to the full, and to die peacefully and with dignity.
St Barnabas Hospice – one of our current Community Champions - has facilities all over our trading area and provide care and support for around 12,000 people in Lincolnshire each year, costing £12.6 million annually. Half of this comes from donations.
This funds a hardworking team and a range of services; from drop-in coffee mornings and counselling to physiotherapy and tai chi sessions, alongside all the care they give to patients in their hospices and at home.
Annie Dowse works as a Clinical Service Manager for St Barnabas Hospice and is based at the Grantham Wellbeing Centre.
She said: “Over the last few years, more and more people have been choosing to stay at home - I would say around 95 per cent of patients. Many feel more comfortable in their own home; they might have lived there for 60 years or more and the place itself holds a lot of important memories for them. Sometimes, it might be because they have pets, so they want to be able to continue to care for them too.”
This decision is left up to the patient and all the options are discussed, including going to the charity’s hospices in Grantham or Lincoln.
“Many people like to be cared for at home for as long as possible,” explains Annie. “We will support this, and then they may choose to go into the hospice for the end of their life.
“Our aim is to enable that person to live life as full and independently as possible for as long as possible. We do this by helping to manage symptoms, making them feel comfortable, showing compassion, and then enabling them to have a dignified death at the end of it all.
“Achieving this also means ensuring that the patients’ families feel confident caring for their loved one in between visits and letting them know that if they do need extra support or have an urgent need, they can always reach out to us, and we will always be there to help.
“We look at the whole picture of what goes on with every person we care for and will always check in with families as well as patients on our visits.”
As well as managing the patient case load in her local area and co-ordinating nurse visits, Annie leads weekly community meetings, which is a chance for all the necessary healthcare professionals to get together and discuss any new referrals, or patients with unmanaged symptoms.
“When we talk about managing symptoms, we mean both psychological and physical. Getting on top of this it crucial to ensuring a patient is comfortable at home,” says Annie. “If they have pain for example, rather than having to keep going to a health facility, we will find the best way it can be managed at home.”
When you first consider the support a hospice might provide, you immediately think of physical aids – help with medication or mobility, for example. St Barnabas goes way beyond that, Annie says.
“We offer counselling to our patients and their families through our wellbeing team and can refer through to them if an individual does need some extra support. This can be telephone contact, as well as face-to-face counselling.
“Our care doesn’t stop when a patient dies. We will always get in touch with their family to check in on them and let them know about bereavement services. At this stage, we often get lovely feedback from families, expressing how much they appreciated having our support, because it meant that they were able to look after their loved one at home.”
You’re supporting a local hospice every time you shop with your dividend card, donate through our collection boxes or contribute to our colleagues’ fundraising. Find out more.