At St. Richard’s, we believe that everyone who is living with a life-limiting illness and their loved ones should be able to have the free, expert care and support they need to live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.
We regularly care for patients with multiple conditions such as heart failure, Parkinson’s, and motor neurone disease as well as cancer. Thankfully, with modern medicine and technology, people are living far longer – with the possibility of a good quality of life that was unthinkable only a decade ago.
In only five years’ time we expect 4,000 people to be turning to us for care and specialist support – that’s up to an extra 1,000 per year. But parts of our hospice building are already at full capacity and we simply don’t have the space to provide everything that our patients and their families require. So, we are expanding and redeveloping our hospice to dramatically increase the range and depth of services we can offer – and help more patients to live better, more independent lives.
The number of people in Worcestershire aged 65+ who are living with an incurable long term condition is projected to rise by 63% over the next 20 years.
We currently support more than 3,000 people a year. We anticipate our bigger hospice will enable us to care and support up to 4,000 individuals by 2021/22 – a 25% increase.
How will a bigger hospice benefit patients and families?
A bigger hospice, a widespread redevelopment of the current building and a focus on more flexible, seven day a week care and support will mean we can reach more people in ways they want, helping them to come to terms with their illness and its impact on their lives.
Bigger, multi-purpose spaces will allow us to offer a wider choice of activities to help people manage their illness where appropriate, such as sessions to cope with breathlessness and fatigue; exercise based groups and creative and music therapies which can increase confidence and independence; bring relief from symptoms; reduce stress, anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep.
A life-limiting illness also affects the whole family, many of whom are carers. We offer them time to discuss their concerns as well as practical and financial advice both during a person’s illness and into bereavement. More space will mean we can support more families and carers when they need us.
The new St Richard’s will also offer warm and welcoming social spaces for all ages as well as cosy areas suitable for a confidential chat. These areas will be used for a wide range of less formal support for patients and their loved ones, such as drop in sessions, social groups and day-to-day support of friends and families.
Anyone with a condition that is life-limiting can benefit from hospice care and support. Our care is not just for those living with cancer but increasingly other illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), renal failure or respiratory conditions. For many people their family is likely to live further away than in previous generations and they may live alone, feeling isolated and anxious about what the future holds. We can offer specialist advice on controlling pain; financial advice on how to manage while someone is not able to work or ways to talk to their children about their illness. We can help someone back from being a patient to a person again, living life to the full right until the moment they die. As treatment options increase and people live longer with a life-limiting illness they will face a number of challenges.
Taking control wherever possible and making decisions about their personal health is important at a time when they can feel powerless. People want to feel normal, and we can support them to learn how to understand and cope with their conditions. Without a bigger hospice there is the potential for many more people to face their illness alone, without the significant bene ts that being part of the St Richard’s ‘family’ can bring. Research has shown that hospice care can increase both the quality of life and how long a patient lives.
Hospice care is often appropriate sooner rather than later once someone has been diagnosed with an incurable illness. Early referral allows for better management of a patient’s symptoms and anticipation of potential problems and generally results in improved quality of life for a longer time for both patients and loved ones. For those not receiving appropriate hospice care there can be many consequences.
For example, it can mean that without being supported to understand what happens at the end of life, a family calls an ambulance for a person experiencing breathlessness, leading to them dying in a busy accident and emergency department instead of peacefully at home. It could mean a person dies sooner than they might because essentials like nutrition and mobility weren’t given the priority required.