SPECIAL FEATURE: Hospice outlines new five-year plan

St Barnabas House hospice has outlined a new five-year plan to bring in more specialist services for patients, as well as expand its home hospice care to allow more people to live out the rest of their days at home.

Speakers and guests at the St Barnabas House fundraiser.
Speakers and guests at the St Barnabas House fundraiser.

The charity moved into its premises in Titnore Lane, Durrington, in 2011, and this year celebrated the 43rd anniversary since the founding of the organisation in 1973.

To mark the five-year milestone, the hospice held a fundraising evening at The Dome Cinema in Marine Parade, Worthing, on Thursday night.

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Between St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House in Arundel, more than 6,000 hours of care were put in by staff and volunteers last year to help thousands of patients suffering with cancer and other life-limiting conditions.

Speakers and guests at the St Barnabas House fundraiser.

But now the charity wants to make the service even more personal.

Hugh Lowson, chief executive officer, outlined the purpose of the Hospice at Home service, a team of 20 staff whose job it is to help people who wish to die in their own homes, by equipping them with resources and emotional support.

He said: “I am 53 now. If I was ill I would want to be with my family at home, which would be so much healthier for me. We are at a point now where we are only bringing a patient into the hospice as a last resort, and we want people to have the comfort of being in their own home, not just for the patient but also for their family.

“In 2040, it is believed 500,000 people will live to be more than 100 years of age. Clinically, people are living longer, but many people live out a lot of that time with some sort of condition, so we need to have the skills to make them more comfortable.

Nurses at St Barnabas House

“In a recent survey, 80 per cent of people, given the choice, would wish to die in their own home, but last year, only one in 10 was able to. That needs to change.”

Chairman of the hospice Derwyn Jones said: “Since the hospice opened five years ago, I have found it a humbling experience. It makes me very humble to watch what goes on inside the hospice. The hospice is for everyone. It is about the staff, the families, the people who serve the coffee, and we rely so heavily on the community.

“When you have lost someone close to you, it is very difficult not to want to help by putting something back into the community. I lost a close friend only six months ago, and it did affect a lot of us.”

Andy Burt, director of adult nursing, added: “Everyone in our area needing our services is equally important, and I hope we have made a difference to all those we have looked after.

Sarah Randall speaking at the event.

“We have never been a charity content to stand still – we strive to develop services to bring our specialist care, knowledge and experience to more people. Our vision is that everyone in our community is able to have the best possible end-of-life care.”

Since opening the new building in 2011, the charity has not only established the Hospice at Home service, but the Hospice Outreach Project, too. This involves an outreach vehicle travelling around the area providing advice, support and information for those facing a life-limiting illness or bereavement.

The Hospice at Home team cares for patients in their own homes and operates on a 24-hour basis.

Now, the hospice is looking at six new developments that will ‘transform the hospice service’.

New nurse specialists will be helping many more people with life-limiting conditions than the patients with cancer it already helps. St Barnabas is one of the first UK hospices to bring in such specialist staff.

More volunteer support will be needed, and the hospice is planning to expand its network of ‘community companions’ – trained volunteers who visit patients and families at home, offering practical help.

A new ‘one call’ co-ordination hub will also be introduced in October, which comprises a new 24-hour phone line with the objective of making sure patients are able to speak to someone at any time day or night, and feel more comfortable with the ability to do so.

The hospice is also calling for more specialist community nursing, and has extended weekday working hours for community nurses to 8pm.

The wellbeing of patients is another concern. It aims to reach people at earlier stages of their illness, and share research knowledge with a hospice education team.

Also attending the fundraising event were a number of representatives from private organisations, including Southern Water, which has chosen St Barnabas House as its charity of the year.

Spokesman Jack Riley said: “It has been really informative, and it is good to see them hard at work in our community.

“We have chosen them this year as our chosen charity to help raise awareness of the hard work they do. The charity is close to some members of our team, so we do want to help.”

Worthing Cricket Club has also been asked to host a fundraising day on August 10.

A spokesman said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us. We are really excited as a club to be part of it, they don’t have that many games and the fact they have chosen us is great.”

Hugh added: “I think the evening went well, we showed we have a lot of care and support, and we feel quite proud we are able to give something back, and now we want to help people in other areas.

“Hopefully, our donors will continue to get behind us for the additions to our services and we think there is a need for that. But the growth now has to be in people’s own homes.”

The hospice chief also spoke about a number of fundraising opportunities for corporate businesses and other groups, after the hospice received around £6 million in funds last year.

Opportunities include corporate volunteering where teams would help to deal with some of the services involved, and chosen charity of the year, which helps to raise awareness of the hospice.

A new feature the hospice is offering is the £50 challenge, where a fundraising team is given £50 and has three months to raise as much money as possible using the cash as a starting point.

Finally, volunteers including chairman Derwyn will be undertaking a trek across the South Downs National Park later this year.

For more information, readers can visit the website www.stbarnabas-hospice.org.uk, or call the main switchboard on 01903 706300.

For volunteering opportunities, call 01903 706315 or email [email protected]

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