What is to become of Hospices?

Categories: Opinion and People & Places.

A personal reflection by Rosie Adamson-Clark M.Sc,M.Ed,M.A., Bolton Hospice patient, Retired NHS clinician/ Senior psychological therapist.

It is a time of trouble for so many reasons, wars raging, instability and starvation, Global warming, a hot potato… if only we could feed the hungry with the hot potato.

Governments around the World, or World leaders, seem unable or unwilling to do anything to help the plight of ordinary people, so much corruption abounds and dictatorships seem to be becoming a normal way to run a country or state. It is all such a mess isn’t it?

I can’t think too much about global stuff as it upsets me and worries me… and I have worries nearer to home… what is to become of our local Hospice??

The Hospice movement, as this journal shows, is Worldwide, an international code of caring with the ultimate hope of a good death, if you will. It is what Dame Cicely would have wanted when she began all this… the journey towards a good death where life doesn’t stop until the last breath is taken. The value of the person and their journey.

Where am I at in my journey… ???

I was speaking to a medic friend the other night about my concerns for our local Hospice, which works so hard to give comfort to those with life limiting conditions, terminal conditions, the dying, their families and friends.

It’s been a hub of the town for 30 years now.

Things are changing though; money is tight, changes may have to be made, a local newspaper is now having a “Save the Hospice” campaign and us patients are doing as much as we can to raise awareness and fund raise to keep it going. We all love going to the Hub, the Hospice resource centre, and we value the fact that it extends our lives, even if just a tiny bit, and it adds meaningfulness.

I sponsor musicians to perform concerts and I make these events into a RATTLE THE BUCKET fund raiser.

We have done well so far and I am still selling my recently published book and giving all proceeds to the Hospice. What more can I do?

Step back, not use the services, let someone else have a time of quality care and support… I suppose I could, but I would rapidly go downhill.

The team at the Hospice keep me afloat, get on the GP’s case when needed; the District Nurses who see me at home liaise with the Hospice to ensure I get appointments.

Also the wonderful Oxygen lead Nurse at the local Hospital who sorts out my oxygen supplies/needs so I can at least attempt a life, something outside of my home, also works with the Hospice. It all does work, at present… BECAUSE the Hospice is the lynch pin holding it all together, making sure my care and support is as optimised and personalised as it can be. Not my GP Surgery, I have sort of given up on them, the staff and Doctors that knew me and my complexities have left, and who cares anyway if you are on End of Life Care??

The Hospice and its  amazing staff, DO care.They are indeed a Hub of life.

If Hospices are to be helped financially, in other than local ways [fund raisers are amazing to do what they do] the Government may have to stop being a business orientated set up and think more about actual ‘people’ and their needs, not business and power.

I cringe when I think of how Nurses and Doctors and Hospices and care homes suffered due to the PPE fiasco. Can we trust Central Government to get involved, as they surely will if they give any money, to make things ‘better’.

I fear what was once a refuge, a calm space, a healing place of peace, light, stillness when needed, will become a medical facility, rule bound, closed, strict and lacking the love and warmth the places have now.

My friend is convinced no Government will let them close or fail, but they are! He assumes that a pot of money will be thrown at the Hospices, with caveats of course, and Labour will promise money and the Conservatives will give money. Or will they???

What we need is a look at what matters in all this… do we value life, do we want our loved ones to have good deaths, love, kindness and an unhurried time of support whilst going through changes and letting go.

I worry, I worry.

Please do noot let go of what you value in the Hospice movement and your local Hospice, wherever that may be. Fight quietly if you are not a banner waver, but fight insistently, to ensure people’s journey to the end of life, is as happy and comfortable as it can be – with good food, good hugs, good love and being listened to.

These human, compassionate elements and actions are far more important than whatever rules and regs you may be forced to follow, or whatever ambitions you have to be powerful, moneyed, business savvy, and successful.
If all Health, social care services and Hospices go under,or are completely privatised, profits for the shareholders and those at the top will be much more important than the good death we strive for.

Stand up for your local Hospice, write to your MP, or local or regional news outlet. Let them know it’s a poor day when even the Hospice is dying… crying out for help and money.

Peace, Light and Love Friends

Rosie Adamson-Clark M.Sc,M.Ed,M.A.

Bolton Hospice patient,

Retired NHS clinician/ Senior psychological therapist.

August 2023

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