What is Hospice Care? Building Compassionate Communities

November 24th, 2016 Posted in Hospice News
Social Work

compassionate care

What do you think when you hear the word ‘Hospice’? 

“We need to empower the whole of society to deliver our modern vision of Hospice Care”

Up until recently ‘Hospice’ has been mainly used as a noun, to describe a single facility in which Hospice Care is provided. However there is a growing recognition of ‘Hospice’ as an adjective to describe a philosophy of care that can be provided to people ‘anywhere’: at home; in nursing and residential care homes and indeed at times even in our busiest hospitals. And now it is extending to the wider community too, where all of us play a role.

Hospice Care aims to relieve suffering, recognising the concept of ‘total pain’ affecting the mind, body and spirit; the need to combine expert symptom management with compassionate care for the individual; and to teach and empower the whole of society to deliver this care. This is our philosophy of Hospice Care as originally described by Dame Cecily Saunders, the revolutionary founder of the Modern Hospice Movement, fifty years ago.

Our aim and intention is to be alongside people from the on-set of and throughout their illness, offering specialist advice and support from dedicated and experienced health and social care professionals to create a recipe of care, with all the ingredients to enable people with advancing disease to achieve an optimal quality of life for as long as may be naturally possible.  And, in improving the lives of those who entrust us with their care, we hope to alleviate the distress often experienced by family members and close friends.

We want to become ‘partners in care’; not purely those who deliver, and at worst are seen to be taking over, or that we know best. Our commitment is to empower every individual who is affected by life-limiting illness and those who experience frailty in older age to be ‘in control’ of their care and not to ever lose sight of their desires, ambitions and aspirations.

“Our desire is that every person we meet will feel more able and equipped to manage loss, dying and bereavement”

We are not the experts in knowing every person we meet; and that’s where we turn to their family members and friends. Our approach will strengthen the family and community support that surrounds each person. Our desire is that every person we meet will feel more able and equipped to manage loss, dying and bereavement. We want to help build community resilience, with the ambition to build and enhance compassion within our community.

Building and developing compassionate communities is very much part of a new and emerging next phase in the Hospice Movement, a concept actively promoted through the services available in our new Living Well Centre, which opened in October 2016 adjacent to Rowans Hospice. The desire to impart our knowledge and skills to others is probably our most important priority as we face a changing society where there will be more older people requiring good quality end of life care, many of whom will be suffering from a variety of chronic diseases to include dementia, alongside a growing shortfall in statutory provision.

“Hospice Care needs to be about strengthening communities”

Our aspiration is to bring Hospice Care to everyone, and in order to spread this philosophy of care we need to train and support volunteers, family members, friends and neighbours to deliver compassionate care to those who need it. Hospice Care needs to be about strengthening communities to care for those who are most vulnerable and in need, and through charitable funds enhance statutory delivery of care.

With your support we can continue this mission and take the Modern Hospice Movement into the next phase of its journey in its pursuit in relieving suffering for all who are affected by loss, death and bereavement.

Ruth White,
Chief Executive

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