This Christmas will you help us care for people, so that they can have one last Christmas at home?
This Christmas our hospice team will be caring for over 750 patients and their families in their own homes across Greenwich and Bexley. For many, this will be the last Christmas they spend together.
I’m Natalie and I’ve worked at the hospice for 15 years. I’m proud to head up our Community Services Team who work around the clock to make sure that patients and their loved ones, are given the personalised care they need in their own homes.
Hospice care is different for every person because it is tailored to each person’s needs and is shaped around what matters to them. For many patients it is being pain free that matters most, for others it may be having support from their faith group or that a beloved pet is close by. Every single person is different, and therefore so is our care.
As we are seeing more patients from across our community, hospice care looks even more special today. Care may focus on a range of different priorities, for example, our doctors and nurses help people to manage symptoms and reduce pain. Our social workers offer practical, financial support and advice to patients and those close to them. They also support people to come to terms with what’s happening and with having difficult but very important conversations with children. Our rehabilitation and wellbeing team can support with everyday tasks so that people can be as independent as possible for as long as possible.
With all of this support, families can then make the most of the time they have together; and they can make precious memories.
The Community Team give this care in people’s own homes; we know how important it is to so many, to stay where they are, in the comfort of their own surroundings.
Everyone at the end of their life deserves a choice;
a chance to choose where they would like to spend their final days. And that’s especially important at this time of year, when people are desperate to have one more Christmas celebration at home with the ones they love.
That’s the choice we were able to give to Stephen last December. His loving wife Angela has spoken about his care.
Our community hospice support is provided by amazing people like Marina, who has also shared her feelings about caring for people over Christmas here.
Dedicated, expert staff like her keep people at home, with their families, where they feel safe and comfortable. They help manage people’s worries, take away the pain and give the peace, comfort and dignity we would all want for our own loved ones at the end of life.
Christmas is always our most challenging time of the year as it means so much to so many people, as a time to be together and make memories that live on. Many tell us that their ‘goal’ is to make it to the 25th, to hold on for one last day, to have one last Christmas with their family.
The cost of care for three out of every five patients is funded by charitable gifts. The reality is that we can only continue to care for patients and families in our community if we have the support of kind, thoughtful people like you.
Our wonderful Community Team will care for patients in their own homes everyday throughout the festive season - Christmas Day too. A typical home visit from a Health Care Assistant like Marina costs £35.06 to provide. A Clinical Nurse Specialist visit to review symptoms and discuss care plans will cost £86.70. Then a home assessment in our new Virtual Wards, which are a way of providing more specialist support to more people at home, costs £163.46.
Any donation you can manage will help us deliver the essential care that local people need over the holidays – and the chance to make the most of their last Christmas together. Please, give what you can. From us all here at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, I’m sending you every best wish for a happy, peaceful Christmas with the ones you love. Thank you, so much.
Head of Community Service