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“We can help you much earlier than you think”, says three Bedfordshire and Luton hospice charities

Date: 11/05/2022 | Category: CCG News

“We can help you much earlier than you think” is the rallying call of three Bedfordshire and Luton hospice charities joining forces to encourage more people to get in touch earlier following a life limiting diagnosis to help them live life to the fullest.

The ‘Your Hospice Care’ campaign by Bedford Daycare Hospice, Keech Hospice Care and Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice has launched across Luton and Bedfordshire, funded by the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System.

It is the first time the three hospices have united to deliver a campaign of this kind, and they hope it will see more people getting in touch earlier to access the support they need to live life to fullest following a diagnosis of a lung condition, heart failure, cancer or neurological condition.

“I’ve been supported by the hospice since 2018,” shares Paul. “I was feeling quite down and I needed help. When it was suggested that I visit the hospice, I didn’t know what to think.

“My first day was brilliant because I didn’t have to explain myself. My granddad went to the hospice six years ago when he was at the end of his life so the only part I had seen or knew of before was the inpatient unit. I had no idea any of the rest of it was there.

“They’ll do anything for you, nothing is too much trouble. I’ve received support from a social worker to help me with troubles I have had accessing benefits, received reflexology and massage treatments, enjoyed music therapy and attended physiotherapist run groups too. The hospice is a place of hope and optimism.”

As part of the campaign, leaflets will be distributed and posts shared on Facebook directing people to a Freephone telephone number 0808 175 0810 or the www.yourhospicecare.org.uk encouraging people to get in touch with their local Bedfordshire based hospice as soon as they receive a life-changing diagnosis.

Elaine Tolliday, Clinical Director and Deputy CEO at Keech Hospice Care hopes as part of the campaign more people will get in touch with their local hospice for the specialist support they and their family might need as early as they can.

“Hospices offer so much more than people think. From the moment someone is told they have a life-limiting illness, they should call their local hospice. Even if you don’t think you need our support right now, it’s good to speak to us early. When you get in touch, we’ll listen and suggest options that are right for you. There are so many ways we can help. We can help you access specialist care, get relief from any symptoms and make choices so you can continue enjoying life and remain independent for as long as possible.

“Hospice services are free of charge and you don’t have to wait for a medical professional to refer you. The earlier you speak to us, the better. We can support you over the phone, in the comfort of your home or through activities in your local community.”

With many hospitals and GP surgeries operating under increased pressure it is hoped the campaign will also help reduce numbers of people with life-limiting conditions being admitted to hospital or A&E, or having to face multiple trips to their GP to access the specialist support and care they might need.

Allison Mann, Service Director at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice said, “Hospices are doing all they can to help relieve pressure on our colleagues in the NHS. Working together our ultimate aim is to keep people safe, supported and independent at home.

“Whether you would prefer to receive support in your local community, in your home or in a specialist centre you will be warmly welcomed by a dedicated and passionate team of specialists – from complementary therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, family support workers, nurses and doctors – who all work together to offer the physical therapies or medical care, practical guidance or emotional support you might need.”

Vicky, age 49, is being cared for by one of the hospices and wants to share her experience to make sure others act quickly to receive the same support she does. “The hospice has been so supportive through everything. The hospice team are absolutely amazing. My hospice nurse is wonderful. If I have any problems she gets me sorted. If there are ever any issues with my medication she gets it put right straight away.

“Even the hospice fundraising team have been amazing. One day I was told not to do anything but I knew I had to be ready to go out. A few of my best friends picked me up and we went on a visit to the TV set of my favourite soap – the fundraising team had set that up for me!”

Stephen Murphy, Clinical Lead of Bedford Daycare Hospice says many people don’t realise they can access hospice services sooner. “So many people come to us and say ‘I wish I had known about you sooner’ which is a real travesty. I hope with this campaign we won’t hear these words as often.

“The truth is hospices are all about you. We put you in control of the care and support you want to receive to achieve the things that you want to achieve. All you need to do is phone us or visit our website to find out more about ‘Your Hospice Care’.”

If you, a friend, a colleague or a family member have been diagnosed with a life limiting condition in Bedfordshire or Luton call for free on 0808 175 0810  or visit: www.yourhospicecare.org.uk or more information on how to get in touch with your local hospice as soon as possible.