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The Year 2000: Hospice at Home Begins

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In the year 2000, we had just partied like it was 1999. The Millennium Dome was morphing into a white elephant and radio stations were refusing to play Sir Cliff Richard’s Millennium Prayer. Sir Cliff got the last laugh when his rehash of Auld Lang Syne shot to number one though. 

The infamous millennium bug didn’t bite, but Margaret Helene Markus was bitten by the fundraising bug. Margaret went on to leave a £400,000 gift in her will to Saint Francis Hospice.

The Hospice launched its ‘Hospice at Home’ service thanks to the generosity of Margaret. The idea was to offer people the choice of spending their final moments in the comfort of Saint Francis Hospice or their home. Either way, the Hospice’s doting nurses will be sure to surround them with love and care , relieving pain and ensuring they live in dignity.

The pioneering project was initially funded and piloted for three years. Yet ‘Hospice at Home’ is 20 years later. Today, ‘Hospice at Home’ celebrates its ‘china’ anniversary. Julie White has been part of the team since the beginning, and she still remains as enthusiastic as she was two decades ago.

She’s seen many changes over the years, from expanding the area ‘Hospice at Home’ covers, to the changes in uniforms to keep the nurses looking fresh and on-trend. ‘I still relish in learning the latest methods of care,’ she said. 

Much like the care on Saint Francis Hospice’s ward, Hospice at Home isn’t just for the person who is ill, but everyone around them. ‘The patient is our priority, but we look after the whole family,’ Julie explained. ‘Many families have never experienced caring for someone who is dying, so they may struggle. It’s a privilege to support them during this very precious time.’

Hospice at Home helps families who have been plunged into caring go back to being a relative or friend again — and not just a carer. Last year, Saint Francis Hospice cared for over 700 people in their homes.

Here’s to the next 20 years of outstanding Hospice at Home care.

Leaving a gift in your will to Saint Hospice means putting a stamp on the future and making a contribution to future generations of people who will need us. If you’d like to find out more about Gift in Wills, please contact the Hospice’s Legacies Manager, Susan Spencer, on 01708 771403 or at susanspencer@sfh.org.uk

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