Today marks World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, a day to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. This year theme #BecauseIMatter, ties in with the pioneering work and approach of Dame Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospice in south London, which she opened in 1967, founding the modern hospice movement.
A Holistic Approach
More than anyone else, Dame Cicely was responsible for establishing the practice and culture of ‘holistic’ hospice care. Going beyond the physical, her concept of ‘total pain’ included emotional, spiritual and psychological aspects of suffering.
She insisted that dying people needed dignity, compassion and respect, and she regarded every person as an individual to the end. She is infamous for saying ‘You matter because you are you and you matter until the end of your life’.
Inspiring District Nurses from Somerstown
It was while visiting St Christopher’s hospice in 1972, a group of District Nurses based in Somerstown were inspired to start campaigning and fundraising for a hospice to serve the people of Portsmouth. An ambition which was realised when Rowans Hospice opened its doors in October 1994.
After 24 Years, What Does Hospice and Palliative Care Mean to Our Community Today?
As a Hospice, Rowans’ approach to palliative care has always been to see and focus on the person first not their diagnosis. We don’t have a prescriptive model of care because each individual, each family member and every situation is different.
We provide the support and compassionate care that is needed to ensure everyone can live well and, as far as may be possible, die well. Our care is about meeting the needs of the individual person, their family or carer. Our experience has taught us that it is often the little things that matter, the skill is in taking the time to find out what these may be and doing our best to fulfil them.
Rowans’ holistic approach ensures that we offer support, advice and services from diagnosis; endeavouring to be alongside at every step of the way. Focusing on living well and when appropriate supporting their advance planning for end of life care, at home or in the hospice and safe in the knowledge that we will continue to support their family and carers into bereavement.
The aim of the World Hospice and Palliative Care day is to show support for the care given by local hospices. Our local community can simply pledge to do one thing for our local hospice in support of our Capital Appeal. Alternatively share your stories about how your experience of hospice care by getting in touch with us.