The start of a new year is often a time for making resolutions and planning for the year ahead. However, for many their focus is on caring for family members, grieving the loss of a loved one, or they themselves maybe in need of end-of-life care.
As we face a cost-of-living crisis, now more than ever, caring for someone at home is causing incredible financial pressure. More electricity is needed for much needed equipment such as specialist beds, mattresses and oxygen concentrators, and more money is required to cover the costs of heating the house and feeding members of the household. All of these are additional stressors when people are trying to make the most of the time they have left with one another.
Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice is here to do all we can to support people in this situation.
How we’re helping people facing financial difficulty
A recent publication from a national charity Marie Curie has identified that one in seven people dying is dying in poverty, a figure rising to over a quarter for those who are dying of working age. This only increases for people who are marginalised due to their cultural heritage, disability and such.
At the hospice, we’ve tripled the size of our social work team to ensure that it can keep up with the social and financial needs of those we provide care for. The team support people to find and apply for grants, signpost them to other relevant organisations, and give advice about the benefits they are entitled to. They also help people access support for their carers who may have to take time off work when caring for a loved one.
Currently, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice is supporting a mum in her 40s who is in the late stages of cancer and is registered blind in one eye; I’m calling her ‘Faith’. Faith’s husband now works part-time so that he can care for her and look after their three young children.
Being cared for at home is causing incredible financial pressure. The family uses more electricity around the clock to run a specialist bed, mattress and oxygen concentrator, which provides oxygen to help Faith manage her breathing. On top of this, the cost of heating the house and feeding their family is high, impacting the precious time they have left together.
The hospice’s social work team are working with Faith’s energy provider to reduce their bills and is applying for grants on their behalf. They’ve even worked with Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice’s charity shops to get toys and games for the children before hiding them away for their Dad until Christmas. The hospice’s support is invaluable for many families like Faith’s.
There for you, around the clock
Another recent publication revealed that there is a gap in out-of-hours care for people at the end of life. This, in turn, leads to hospital admissions that could have been avoided, and that many don’t want or need. Across the UK, 40% of people dying will attend the emergency department at least once in their last month of life, which is more likely to happen in the overnight and weekend periods.
Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice is proud to say that we support people around the clock, seven days a week, at home. The hospice works with hospitals in the local community, allowing them to move people to where they want to be as quickly as possible, whether this be their home, care home or in their hospice inpatient unit.
After her aggressive cancer diagnosis, the hospice recently cared for ‘Yvonne’ on our inpatient unit. Yvonne’s partner told us that the team gave her the “old Yvonne back”, saying, “she had a smile and was happy – not burdened by pain and illness.”
We need you
It costs £10 million a year for Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice to provide 24/7 care. Only about £4m of this comes from the NHS.
This means that the hospice relies heavily on the generosity of our local community to raise the remaining £6m. It is the loyalty of our supporters, staff and volunteers that make it possible for us to continue to care for people in Greenwich & Bexley. We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you.
We are extremely grateful for all donations received. If you would like to donate to the hospice, please click here.