It’s a good question and can be difficult to answer if you have never been in one or been touched by one.
It’s not a hospital and the focus is on supportive care rather than treatment. It’s not home but we make it as close to home as possible with home comforts and care provided and planned with you. Coming into a hospice can be very daunting. People have different ideas about what we do, who comes to a hospice and what care we provide. Here at Beaumond House we try and make the whole experience relaxed, welcoming and centred on individual people. We are a nurse-led, home from home environment and we care for people over 18 within the last year of life who have a progressive life-limiting condition or who need care right at the end of their life. We help people plan for their care as their needs change, looking at what is available and helping people make informed choices.
Some people come to our day therapy on a weekly basis for therapeutic activities, support and advice. We also have a Hospice at Home service where we support people who require palliative care in their own home. The hospice has four beds which are used for short term support of people with palliative care, respite and additional care needs and for those who chose the hospice as the place they wish to die. We also support people with welfare rights, have a resource and information service and offer bereavement support.
Once through the Blue Door, patients, their families and visitors are pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere. We do laugh together, we share what people are feeling and going through but most of all we try and help people make the most of their lives.
Once someone is under our care we know they feel supported, their family feel supported and that hospice care makes a real difference (we know from feedback!) The challenge is getting the message out to the area we serve about what we do, how we do it and the difference it can make. We also need to let people know that the services are FREE to those who need it but in order for that to happen we need to raise £700,000 per year to continue.
My message as Head of Clinical Services is focused on the care we provide but we cannot do this without the much needed ongoing support from the community we serve.
Meeting the challenge
We recently held some focus days where we invited representatives from different areas of the community; GP surgeries, community teams and allied voluntary sector colleagues into the hospice. We have asked these people to be champions in the community, spreading the word with those they come into contact with about Beaumond House. We wish to dispel misinformation on hospice care, reach more people who could benefit from our care and at the same time work alongside other health and social care providers. We will keep in contact with our champions to update them on what is happening in the hospice, events and also send key messages for them to share with colleagues in their area of work.
Later this year we will host open days for anyone who wishes to come and have a look round, talk to the team and perhaps look at working with us, volunteering or finding out if we can help with palliative care needs.
Please do come and meet us! Louise Sinclair, Head of Clinical Services