More than 100 people across Nottinghamshire have pledged regular donations to secure hospice provision into the future, leading to an increase in income of more than £18,000.
Donors responded to a joint appeal launched by Nottinghamshire Hospice and Beaumond House Community Hospice calling for ongoing support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The appeal asked people to pledge a small regular amount to safeguard hospice care from any future impact of the virus.
Steve Stevenson of Balderton signed up to support Beaumond House after experiencing the team’s love and care when his wife Chris was in the hospice.
Chris was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 but responded to treatment and after a year was told she was in remission. The devoted couple, who were together for 41 years, were able to go on holiday.
“When we came home she seemed to be going downhill and it came back with a vengeance,” said Steve.
Chris underwent treatment including chemotherapy and radiotherapy but in April 2019 she was told there was “no hope.”
The Hospice at Home team at Beaumond House visited Chris at home to see what they could do to help and on May 20 it was agreed that the best place for her was in the hospice.
“She was happy to be there, I know she thought it would be easier for me,” said Steve.
“I was absolutely amazed by the amount of care she received and the way everybody looked after her. The treatment she received was like you would get in a hospital but it was less clinical, more like being in your own home.”
Steve was able to stay with her, sleeping in a comfortable chair by her bedside. When Chris died in the hospice on May 29, at the age of 59, Steve was by her side.
“I was holding her hand when she passed away,” he said. “We were still together right until the end.
“She was lovely, she was so kind and always thought about others before herself. She was the love of my life.”
Steve said he was delighted to help Beaumond House by signing up for regular giving.
“I want to support the hospice and all the people there – they are all so marvellous,” he said.
“If people can afford to help I would like to think they would. Beaumond House deserves all the support it can get.”
Steve has continued his contact with the hospice and knows he will always find a warm welcome.
“I count everyone there as my friends,” he added.
Rowena Naylor-Morrell, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “Nobody knows how long the pandemic will continue or what the new normal will look like. We are really grateful to donors who have made a regular commitment to the hospice, helping us to safeguard our services should there be future peaks and lockdowns.”
Both hospices took a big financial hit due to event cancellations and shop closures during lockdown. With help from their supporters, both have survived, and even extended their services to help more patients and families, adapting quickly to cope with increased demand and new challenges.
Nottinghamshire Hospice set up a new Hospice Outreach and Discharge Service (HODS) and now offers round the clock care to patients at the end of life in their own homes plus support for their families and carers.
“Hospice care is more important than ever as it means patients can spend their last days and hours at home with family around them, keeping hospital beds free,” Rowena added.
Debbie Abrams, Chief Executive of Beaumond House Community Hospice said: “The pandemic has caused a wave of unplanned, traumatic deaths, which has brought home to many people how important it is to plan for a good death wherever possible.
“We can step in and support patients and families during those last weeks, days, and hours of life. By helping us secure our future, we can help you plan for yours.”