One of the greatest loves of my work is delivering a HospiceCare talk to a community group.
Talking is a passion of mine and I can talk about the work of HospiceCare until the cows come home, as people who meet me know too well.
Over the last couple of years I’ve delivered many HospiceCare talks to local organisations, such as Rotary, the WI, Inner Wheel, U3A, Probus and over 60s groups. I realised very quickly that no matter how many magazines we distribute, or how many times we post on Facebook, there’s nothing so powerful as meeting people face-to-face.
My talks always finish with someone saying “I thought you had beds” or “I had no idea this is what you do”. Another surprise for people is learning that you can contact HospiceCare directly, without the need of referral from a GP or healthcare professional.
I’m constantly reminded how fortunate we are to have HospiceCare’s Hospice at Home service. Statistics show that most people would rather be at home, surrounded by family and friends, at the end of their life, rather than in hospital, and 70 per cent would prefer to die at home.
Another vital service HospiceCare delivers is incredible free bereavement support. There’s no waiting list and it is available for as long as needed. I received the most wonderful and professional support from HospiceCare after the loss of my partner. Looking back, I know for sure that I wouldn’t have got through it without this support.
I was given the time and space to grieve in a place that felt safe and comforting, allowing me to work through my overwhelming sadness. I never felt judged and was constantly reassured that I was talking to someone who really understood the journey of grief, which is a long and often very lonely one.
It was a tough period of my life, but with the right support at the right time, bereavement doesn’t mean the end of life for us loved ones left behind.
As awareness grows of HospiceCare’s work, we have seen increased demand for our nursing services. To support that demand we have a small, dedicated, fund-raising team, who work tirelessly to generate the income required to deliver our free clinical services.
This year, we must raise over £700,000. The NHS contributes around £40,000, but the rest comes from fund-raising, donations and legacies.
We can’t pretend it’s an easy job. It often involves long hours, but seeing the difference HospiceCare can make to someone’s life, and death, makes it a rewarding one.
Until next time, be kind to yourself.