By Sarah Klinger, Medical Director, Peace Hospice Care
Like everyone across the nation, I was hugely moved by the news about Dame Deborah James. It’s a personal story that’s reached so many people because of Dame Deborah’s tireless campaigning for her Bowelbabe Fund to pay for clinical trials and research that could result in new treatments for cancer patients (which has now raised a staggering £6m) and her media profile on the famous podcast You, Me & The Big C. Everyone agrees, Dame Deborah is more than fully deserving of her new honour – congratulations from Peace Hospice Care!
However, it’s not just Dame Deborah’s fame which has driven the resonance with our nation. The end of our lives and the care needed around that phase of our lives is, sadly, still, a subject that we shy away from discussing. But, it’s a subject which touches all of us in profound ways.
At Peace Hospice Care, our mission is to support people with life limiting illnesses, including those who are reaching the end of their lives and empower them to achieve the best quality of life possible. We do that with our work in the community but, also, at the Hospice itself.
Crucially, we treasure offering our patients the choice of how they spend the last chapter of their lives. Like Dame Deborah, we wish any patient with a life-limiting illness can choose to have end-of-life care at home, or as in her case, at her parents’ home.
This is why we offer our patients and their families several ways to feel truly comfortable:
- Inpatient Services: Our Inpatient Unit (IPU) is a short stay Unit providing high quality, specialist palliative care which includes symptom control, rehabilitation and end of life care for individuals whose symptoms cannot be controlled at home.
- Outpatient Services: We provide holistic assessment, care and support for people living with life-limiting illnesses in South West Hertfordshire. The service includes wellbeing and creative arts interventions and a growing Bereavement and Counselling Service.
- Community Services: Our Rapid Personalised Care Service provides personal care for up to 12 weeks to patients at home receiving end of life care whilst our Palliative Response Team offer care at home for approximately 14 days, looking after patients’ physical, emotional, social and practical needs.
- Engagement Services: Through engagement activities, we raise awareness of Peace Hospice Care, promote equality, diversity & inclusion and increase our profile in the community we serve, including our Compassionate Neighbours project which connects the bereaved.
- Education Services: As well as providing internal training to staff and volunteers, we work externally with care home staff to raise awareness of the needs of patients with palliative care needs.
It’s never easy for those of us reaching the end of our lives and in particular the loved ones around us. But, we hope that through the work of beloved champions like Dame Deborah and also the tireless work of communities of dedicated professionals and volunteers like the one we are building at Peace Hospice Care, it can be a little easier.
So once again – a huge thanks from everyone here to Dame Deborah. And, if you’d like to find out more about Peace Hospice Care and perhaps even donate please visit that part of our site here.