The theme for this year’s Hospice Care Week was ‘Connecting Care’, focusing on the special role hospices play in connecting with individuals and families, connecting with local communities and connecting people with each other.
Many took the opportunity to let their patients tell the story: 70-year-old cancer patient Julia Kibblewhite spoke to the Oxford Mail about the care she receives at Sobell House.
“The building of Sobell House reflects the ethos of the place: there is a chapel in the middle, wards on one side and day services on the other, all surrounded by gardens, so you’re in this lovely creative and holistic environment,” she explained.
“At Sobell they have got time to see you as a person and that is really very helpful; you’re seen on a spiritual level, a psychological level and a human level.”
Amanda Love told the Yorkshire Evening Post about the efforts made by staff from the Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley to make her husband Mark feel as comfortable as possible at home.
“We did want things for Mark to be at home so we could have a family life and he could to be around the kids more,” she said. “It’s not normal when you’re led in your living room in a hospital bed, but it’s become quite normal to us.”
More than 60 hospices showed ‘Seven Songs for a Long Life’, a documentary film which features six patients from Strathcarron Hospice in Falkirk coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis through singing.
Director Amy Hardie was delighted with the film. “The songs that came from the patients at Strathcarron were so full of passion, dreams, anger, regret, acceptance – I felt it was their whole lives tunnelling into the camera microphone,” she told the BBC.
“I learned an interesting thing – when you’ve been told you have a disease that is going to kill you, you don’t waste time. You want pleasure, to receive it and to give it.”
Two hospices also produced their own videos: Ashgate Hospicecare released a video entitled ‘What does Connecting Care mean to you?’, while St Catherine’s Hospice in Lancashire published ‘Connecting with Care for #HospiceCareWeek’. Both featured people connected with the hospice explaining what the hospice means to them.
Messages from Hospice Care Week spread across social media last Tuesday, with hundreds of people joining the Thunderclap – a mass-message sent out via social media – which reached over half a million people on Facebook and Twitter.
Charity Digital News profiled how Hospice UK was using social media to raise awareness of the week, while individual hospice care charities also used social media to spread the word.
St Rocco’s Hospice in Warrington live tweeted both a nurse’s shift last Monday and a session in one of the charity’s shops on Wednesday, while Rennie Grove Hospice Care and St Ann’s Hospice both urged their supporters to help them raise awareness on social media.
“By joining in with this activity on social media you can play a crucial role in helping us raise awareness about hospice care and how it helps families at every stage of a patient’s illness and through bereavement,” Rennie Grove’s director of fundraising and marketing, Gillian Barnett, said.
Similar sentiments were shared by St Ann’s acting chief executive, Rachel McMillan. “It’s great to be able to reflect on the impact our work has on people from right across Greater Manchester, and also to dispel myths around what hospice care is, and the wide range of services and types of support we give to local people,” she said.
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield launched its new website last week, with the aim of providing more detailed information and celebrating the successes of fundraisers and volunteers.
The charity’s chief executive, Claire Rintoul, was pleased with the site, saying that she hoped that it would be received well by Bluebell Wood’s patients, families and supporters.
“It seems fitting to launch our website during Hospice Care Week, especially given the focus this year is Connecting Care. One of our main ambitions is to provide our current families to more interactive online content, as well as new families and healthcare professionals with the information they require quickly and easily,” she said.
Myton Hospice produced daily blogs throughout the week, as did Sue Ryder and Marie Curie, explaining how they connect with their patients and their families, as well as fundraisers, volunteers and their own staff.
Among the many other stories from the week, the J’s Hospice in Essex, which provides care for young adults aged between 16 and 40, celebrated the fifth anniversary of its hospice at home service, and St Clare Hospice in Jarrow and Mary Ann Evans Hospice in Nuneaton held open days to showcase the services that both provide.
Details for Hospice Care Week 2016 will appear on the Hospice UK website in due course. Read last week’s daily news roundups for more information on how hospices got involved this year.