This month, St Barnabas House in Worthing has joined forces with Hospice UK to support a new nationwide awareness and fundraising campaign – Open Up Hospice Care – which runs from 4 to 29 March 2019.
Together with hospices across the country, St Barnabas House will be taking to social media throughout the campaign to Open Up about the extraordinary range of care the hospice delivers beyond its In-patient Unit, including in people’s homes and out in the community.
Supporters will be able to access videos, interviews, photographs and patient stories on the St Barnabas House Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages which will give an insight into care services including occupational therapy, bereavement support and art therapy as well as volunteer led services such as Community Companions who support patients in their own homes.
The campaign aims to address some of the common misconceptions and fears that many people have about hospice care, raising awareness that hospice care is so much more than a building where you go to die.
In fact, most hospice care happens in the community and in people’s homes.
St Barnabas House patient, Tania House, 51, from Southwick was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2017. She was referred to the hospice in December 2017 after finding out that the cancer had spread to her spine and an operation to remove a tumour would be too dangerous.
Tania has benefitted from a range of palliative care services provided by St Barnabas House including home visits by the Community Palliative Care Team, physiotherapy, acupuncture and a range of complementary therapies. She currently attends the Day Hospice on Thursdays.
Tania said: “I’ve found that a lot of people I know think that a hospice is just for elderly people in the last few days of their life. At the Day Hospice, it couldn’t be more different. There’s people of all ages from all walks of life. There’s something different going on each week including live music, art projects, free haircuts and delicious meals. Recently we all went on a trip to an exhibition at Worthing Museum with the Artist-in-Residence which was brilliant.
“I’ve made some really lovely friends since attending the Day Hospice. We have a great laugh together and I find it helps me to talk openly with other people who also have cancer. I always try to stay positive though. I don’t go to the hospice to think about death, I go there to be looked after and to give a bit of love to people myself.”
Since attending the Day Hospice, Tania has benefited from the complementary therapy treatments available to patients.
Tania said: “When you’ve got cancer, you can control the pain with painkillers, but it doesn’t always work. Therapeutic treatments help me an awful lot and I feel that without them I probably would have given up a long time ago. Indian head massage and reflexology are my favourite. I feel a million dollars when I come out of a session with the hospice’s Complementary Therapist. For someone with cancer that means an awful lot.”
She goes on to add: “Whether I’m having a good day or a not so good day, St Barnabas House has given me a part of my life back where I feel I can be me. Just because I’m going to a hospice, it doesn’t mean I’m going there to die. I’m not ready yet.”
Statutory funding for St Barnabas House runs out during Open Up Hospice Care month.
All services provided by St Barnabas House to patients and their families are always free of charge. The charity only receives 21% statutory which covers 77 days of care each year. On 18 March 2019, – 77 days into the year – this funding will have already been used.
Wendy Bardsley, Community Fundraising Manager at St Barnabas House said: “It costs £6.5 million to provide all of our care services throughout the year. Thank you to everyone who has raised money, volunteered or supported the hospice in other ways. We wouldn’t be here without you. Together we can Open Up Hospice Care.”
You can help to Open Up Hospice Care by liking and sharing posts on your own social media, using the hashtag #OpenUpHospiceCare