Are the passionate words shared by the new Clinical Lead for Hospice at Home at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Jonathon Welbeck-Pure, as he speaks about his new role with the charity.
And with research last year by Sue Ryder finding three quarters of people (74%) would want to receive end-of-life care at home, Bisley-based Jonathon could not have joined the charity at a more vital time.
However, Jonathon says there is a lot of awareness raising needed to make sure people – and the healthcare professionals caring for them – can access the specialist care available.
“We have a massive job to do in making sure more people know about the specialist care available to them from Hospice at Home providers here in Gloucestershire.
“In the county there are five providers of Hospice at Home care covering every corner, and we are all working together to ensure there is an equity of care for everyone no matter where or when they might need it.
“I also want more GPs, doctors and specialists caring for palliative patients to know how responsive we are. We can respond quickly in a crisis to help people stay at home at the end of life and out of hospital.”
But Jonathon recognises many people hold mixed feelings about hospices, which might be a barrier to them accessing this specialist care.
“People are so hesitant of hospices,” Jonathon adds. “People imagine all sorts of things about what palliative care is. In Hospice at Home care people fear us when we come through the door as they think we are the grim reapers, but we are not.
“The reality is, when you are referred to palliative care it means you have an illness that will not go away and eventually there will be a time you will need end-of-life care. We focus on the precious moments in between and our goal is to make sure your life can be as good as it can possibly be during this time.”
Having originally trained as an actor, Jonathon explains he was inspired to work in palliative care by a personal reason. “I first experienced hospice care when my father was cared for by a hospice in the United States, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. My only wish is that I had done it 20 years earlier!”
“I have been on the side of the family receiving care, and it was a pure ‘magic moment’ for me.
“While we were in the hospice the nurse came in and asked ‘what can I get you? You can have anything you want.’ My dad said he wanted a cold beer and in what felt like in two seconds he was handed a bottle of beer and a frosted mug.
“He took two sips and told me it was the best beer he had had in his life.
“That moment was magic – it was my first experience of the holistic care hospices provide.”
After moving from the United States to the UK and having worked for several hospices before finding his home at Sue Ryder, Jonathon adds there is something even more special about providing end-of-life care to people at home.
“Caring for people at home means they are cared for in the comfort of familiar surroundings, surrounded by the things and the people they know and love and that makes such a difference to them.
“They are close to the things that make them tick. They can sit and see the fireplace they decorated on birthdays or at Christmas, they can see the crack in the wall the kids might have made several years before playing ball in the house.
“At home, patients are blanketed by memories, and I see the comfort this brings.”
“I suppose you could say hospices have my heart, and community is my love. I hope by sharing this passion and proudly flying the flag for Sue Ryder, I can help us be there for more people when it matters, in the place that matters to them.”
For more information on the care and services provided by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire visit www.sueryder.org/leckhamptoncourt
For more information on working in palliative care visit www.sueryder.org/palliativecareers
About Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice:
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the only palliative care inpatient unit in Gloucestershire and provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.
Our 16-bed hospice is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil countryside which complements the specialist care and support we give to those with life-limiting conditions and their families.
In addition to our inpatient unit, our Hospice at Home service provides care for people in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester who prefer to receive palliative care at home.
We also have a Community Hub Service which helps people living with long term conditions through therapies, social groups and more, plus volunteer befrienders who offer companionship, help with small practical tasks to patients and respite to their families.
Our expert team of doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and family support team work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.
Whether somebody is dealing with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, we’re there when it matters. Sue Ryder staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.