Isn’t a hospice a place where people go to die?

It’s true that modern hospices began helping people who were dying, usually from a cancer illness. Nowadays, however, we offer a number of care options, including in-patient unit, day hospice, hospice at home and outpatient support for people with any life limiting illness.

People can be admitted to the hospice to allow time for close supervision in order to control symptoms of their illness, before returning home again. The hospice is also for people who wish to be there, or need to be there, at the end of their life. Some people come to stay for urgent respite care – when the patient’s carers or family are no longer able to support their loved one at home; this often goes hand in hand with symptom control.

What is palliative care?

The World Health Organisation defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psycho-social and spiritual.”

The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families

What can a hospice do for me?

Some people find the thought of attending a hospice daunting. However, the hospice is a very pleasant and friendly environment, and you are encouraged to arrange a visit to look around and ask questions to decide if it is the place for you. This can be done by ringing us directly, or you can discuss the hospice with your community nurse, Macmillan/specialist palliative care nurses, GP or hospital consultant. What the hospice can do is very much determined by you as an individual, taking into consideration your own thoughts, wishes and views.

How can I be referred to Bury Hospice?

Bury Hospice takes referrals from any healthcare professional involved in your care. Speak to them about your wish to be referred to the hospice. If you are already a patient known to the hospice, just speak to a member of staff.

What should I bring with me to the hospice when I am admitted?

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the things you may want to bring along with you:

  • All your current medication
  • Night and day clothes and toiletries for your stay.
  • Personal clothing needs to be laundered at home whenever possible, but we recognise that for some people this may be a problem and we are able to launder clothing in special circumstances.
  • Any personal items that will make your stay more comfortable such as photographs, books and music.
  • While we can’t allow pets to stay at the hospice, we understand that they are an important part of your family, and short visits may be arranged by talking to the In-patient unit staff.
  • The hospice provides you with all your meals and can also offer snacks. However, you may bring your own food into the hospice as long as it meets our high food hygiene standards. If you’d like to know more, please speak to the In-patient unit staff.

Who will be involved in my care?

Our team includes people with all kinds of skills, from medical specialists to those dedicated to supporting you during your time with us. The people you meet will depend on your needs, but may include the following:

Nursing staff – Our nursing staff will be the main providers of your care; they are available round the clock, every day. They work very closely with the medical staff led by the consultant physician.

Your GP – If you are referred to hospice at home, your GP will continue to look after you. Your district nurse will also continue to be your key worker, and the Hospice at Home team will work with these professionals to provide additional supportive care. On admission to other hospice services, your GP will be kept fully informed of your care, progress and any discharge plans.

Family support coordinator – Our family support coordinator at the hospice will be involved in your care. The sessions you have with them are strictly confidential.

What about my spiritual or religious needs?

The hospice clinical staff are able to assess your needs and, with your consent, can arrange for the appropriate spiritual support. This may be with your own religious minister if required, with one of the two hospice chaplains, or with another person of your choice.

What happens if I have further problems after I have been discharged?

You can be re-referred to any hospice service at any time. Simply speak to the healthcare professional involved in your care about your wish to be re-referred.