Hospice care is…. so much more than you might think!
Most people think a hospice is a place where you go to die but when you unravel the misconceptions it’s clear to see that Queenscourt is a hospice full of life.
To coincide with Hospice Care week (3rd – 9th October) and help raise awareness of the special kind of care given at over 220 hospices across the UK we talked to Helen Birch, Director of Clinical Services at Queenscourt – your local hospice. Our mission, to find out what hospice care really means to local patients with life-limiting illnesses.
Helen said “We believe no-one should face a life-limiting illness alone. We do all we can for those in our care and understand the importance of personal choice, independence and dignity during these potentially challenging times. The special kind of care we give is about living, making every moment count and creating memories.”
Shirley Mason, a former volunteer and long term supporter of Queenscourt, experienced first-hand the difference a hospice can make. In 1998 her friend June was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. June didn’t have any family locally and had become frail and needed support to improve her symptoms but was adamant that she didn’t want to be “written off” and “sent to a hospice”.
Shirley said “It took a lot to get June to come to Queenscourt but I remember so well the change in her when she finally gave in – she wasn’t frightened anymore and felt safe. She also wanted to know why I didn’t tell her it was like staying in a luxury hotel where everything she needed was taken care of! I don’t know how many people actually realise what you do. I didn’t know myself until I got involved. It’s wonderful and I feel proud to be part of something so special”
We also chatted to Helen about some of the most common myths around hospice care and what really happens at Queenscourt to make it such a special and important local community service.
Hospices are depressing places where you go if you have given up hope.
We strive to help our patients have the best quality of life they can for as long as this is possible. Queenscourt is a relaxing, bright and airy place where everyone – from the housekeeping staff and volunteers to the nurses and medical team – always has a lovely smile on their face. Our philosophy is ‘Life is for Living’. It’s not just about quality of life, it’s also about giving meaning to the life a person has lived. It’s about talking to people and finding out what’s important to them.
Hospices are gloomy places where people go to die.
Queenscourt is full of life and compassion. It’s a place where local people can go for all kinds of specialist care and support and where families and friends are always welcome. Some patients benefit from our care quite early on in their illness. Around 65% of our patients die at home or where they want to be. Our team of skilled professionals can help relieve pain, breathlessness and anxiety amongst other symptoms. Our aim is to help our patients make the most of the precious time they have left.
You can only be cared for at the hospice.
We can provide vital care wherever a patient may be, including at home, in a nursing home, at hospital or the hospice. Our Queenscourt at Home service and Queenscourt Outside volunteers aim to fill the gaps in care and support and work alongside GPs, District Nurses and other existing community services. Together they bring reassurance and support for patients and their loved ones.
You have to have cancer to be cared for in Queenscourt.
Although many of the patients we support have cancer in many different forms, we also provide specialised palliative and end of life care for people with far advanced, serious and progressive illnesses.
Queenscourt is fully funded with money from the NHS.
Less than a quarter of our funding comes from the NHS, for the rest we rely upon the kindness of our supporters. We depend upon donations of time and money from our local community. Every penny that is donated really does make a difference.
You have to be elderly to be cared for in Queenscourt.
Queenscourt cares for adults from the age of eighteen years, there is no upper age limit.
You have to be religious to be cared for in Queenscourt.
Queenscourt cares for people of all religious denominations without exception.
How you can get involved:
Tweet – tell us what Queenscourt means to you using our hashtag #QCandme
Facebook – share your experience of Queenscourt with a review on our Facebook page
Donate – to help Queenscourt keep caring Text: CARE11 £3 to 70070
To find out more about your local hospice visit www.queenscourt.org.uk
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