When Pam Court first joined Saint Francis Hospice as CEO, her friends and family would ask: ‘Isn’t it a terribly morbid and sad place to work?’ Pam would explain that it is quite the opposite, and she hasn’t looked back since.
‘Once people come to our Hospice, they can relax and do things that they thought weren’t possible anymore,’ Pam revealed. ‘At home, it’s often about “fighting” an illness. Some feel the pressure to pretend that they’re coping, through fear of dragging their family down. Patients can be themselves here.’
Saint Francis Hospice’s services aren’t just for patients staying with us; eighty-five per cent of the care the Hospice provides is in the community. That can involve telephone calls, home visits, and socialising at Pemberton Place, which is the Hospice’s day unit and social hub. It’s there where you can find medical and therapeutic services, plus companionship with others who all have something in common: a life-limiting illness.
Saint Francis Hospice’s care isn’t only for the person who is ill, but also for everyone around them. The Hospice provides counselling for pre-bereaved and bereaved families, often young children who have lost a parent. Pam explained how the earlier the Hospice can support patients, the sooner they can surround them and their family with love and care.
‘When someone is diagnosed with an incurable condition, their loved ones often don’t know who to turn to,’ Pam admitted. ‘With the help of our Hospice, you can become a relative or friend again, and not just their carer. You’re not alone; you will have our support.’
While the Hospice delivers care for people at the end of their life, they are more about living, their 33.5% discharge rate is a testament to that. Pam is eager to banish many myths surrounding Saint Francis Hospice. One of those is that this is solely a place to die.
‘The ambience, wildlife and horses trotting past are a few of the many things that make our Hospice so special,’ Pam beamed.
‘You’ll find our patients taking the beauty in. It’s during difficult times that things take on a different meaning; our beautiful rural setting becomes incredibly meaningful for our patients. This is our oasis.’
With only 27% of the Hospice’s total running costs coming from the government, 73% of its funding comes from supporters, like you who are reading this today. Everything you are doing for the Saint Francis Hospice is making a difference.