The extended service builds on the highly-valued advice and referral centre, which was launched in 2014 to manage patient referrals and offer expert advice to St Giles patients, their families and healthcare professionals.
This advice service is now available to anyone within the local community and will be manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by a small team of specialist staff, supported by trained volunteers.
The team can provide information on accessing services, specialist equipment and support groups, advice on a diverse range of subjects from symptom control to financial issues, as well as emotional support and support around coping with bereavement.
Emma Hodges, group CEO for St Giles Hospice, explained: “Feedback from patients and family members tells us that one of the things most valued about St Giles Hospice is the care and support that is offered not only to our patients, but to their families too.
“We know that the feeling of not being alone – and for our patients the comfort that their loved ones are also being cared for – is vital in the quality of care we provide.
“Patients and families often have questions they want to ask: they may be worried about symptoms, they might be looking for support groups or activities within the local area, they may be anxious about financial issues, or they may be grieving and finding life difficult. They may just need reassurance.”
The new service has been made possible thanks to a £100,000 donation from the Connie & Albert Taylor Charitable Trust, which helped fund preparations for the service launch, including IT development and some minor building works.