Dorothy House Hospice Care near Bath has teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Support’s South West Mobile unit to offer free information and support to local communities.
Bertie the bus visits high streets throughout the South West to help people affected by cancer. The Macmillan team help with signs and symptoms of cancer, side effects of treatment, finances, benefits and support for carers.
Dorothy House staff add to this by explaining the free hospice services available to people in Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire with cancer or other life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers either at the hospice or in their community outreach settings. The charity is the first hospice in the South West to collaborate with Macmillan in this way.
The collaboration enables both hospice staff and the Macmillan team to share expertise and knowledge, learn about the services each organisation offers and gain a clear understanding of how to complement each other.
It also means visitors to the Macmillan mobile unit receive a joined-up service. One lady whose husband had a life-limiting illness approached the Macmillan team for information on the bus. During her visit she was also able to speak in her first language to a Dorothy House Nurse Specialist about the support services available at their local hospice outreach centre for herself and her family despite her husband’s reluctance to participate himself.
Commenting on the programme, Wayne de Leeuw, Deputy Chief Executive at Dorothy House said:
“Working in partnership with Macmillan on their mobile information and support service over the past two years has given us an opportunity to meet the public and hear their views on what care and support services matter most to them. The stories we have heard have been powerful and it is only by listening to people that we can understand how the hospice can best support patients, their families and carers.”
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Macmillan and encourage our frontline clinical staff to join local visits by the Macmillan information bus to hear the public’s opinion on the end of life care needs in their area.
“We also want to encourage other hospices to consider how they can work with Macmillan and engage openly with the public in their patch. It is my belief that working collectively we can have a far greater impact, a view shared by the public we’ve met who say, ‘it is great to see Macmillan and the Hospice working together’.”
Tina Churchill, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Specialist said:
“Having the Dorothy House team working alongside us on our visits to Wiltshire, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset has been a really positive experience. It is reassuring for the local community to see our organisations working together and for local people to receive joined-up support from both Macmillan and Dorothy House’s services. The teams complement each other well and both the staff as well as the local community benefit from the collaboration. We would love to replicate this working model across the rest of the South West region.”
In 2018, Macmillan’s Bertie bus mobile unit which serves the South West has reached over 40,000 people.