More than 23,000 patients and their loved ones have been cared for by St Richard’s Hospice since it moved into its purpose-built base at Wildwood Drive in Worcester a decade ago.
The independent charity is marking the 10th birthday milestone of opening the building which was only made possible due to the generous support of the community backing the then £5.25m New Hospice Appeal.
The hospice was first started in 32 years ago in Droitwich before moving to a small building in Castle Street, Worcester and then on to the larger Rose Hill House in the city. Demand for hospice care increased and the new hospice included the first specialist palliative care beds for patients in South Worcestershire.
Mark Jackson, St Richard’s Chief Executive recalls, “I joined St Richard’s in February 2006 when we were still based at Rose Hill House, with about 70 staff, ran a mainly weekday service, did not have any beds for patients and the new hospice at Wildwood Drive was a muddy building site.
“The opening of the new hospice brought huge change which has been the catalyst for a period of sustained growth over the last ten years. The more palliative care we provided to the people of Worcestershire, the greater the unmet need that surfaced.
“Consequently, we have continued to grow. It surprises many when they are told that St Richard’s cares for nearly seven times as many patients and families in the community as it does in its In-patient Unit, but we have always remained true to our roots where we started with one part-time nurse visiting patients in their homes.”
Mr Jackson continued, “The last ten years have seen recession, financial crashes and turbulence nationally. Yet St Richard’s has managed to continue to expand within its financial capabilities. This could not have been possible without the extraordinary support of the people of Worcestershire. Whether it’s our hugely motivated staff, who now number in excess of 230, our magnificent 1000 volunteers, or the wider population that give very generously, it is the people of our county that sustain St Richard’s. I believe that they do so because St Richard’s has remained true to its origins and ethos. We are a local charity that supports its local people, is staffed by local people and funded by local people. “
“The very nature of hospice care is the holistic approach to patients, carers and families’ needs so that not only the physical health needs are met, but also the social, psychological and spiritual needs both before and after bereavement. We are caring for peoples’ lives so that they can make the most of every minute. By holding firmly to our values and the hospice ethos St Richard’s has been able to meet whatever challenges have arisen over the last ten years. Having spent all of 2015 conducting a strategic review we are now embarking on plans for the next 10 years. They promise to be exciting times.”
Patient and families frequently express their appreciation for the care of St Richard’s.
Pat Taylor, whose husband Norman was cared for by St Richard’s before he died in April 2015 said, “My dearly beloved husband received the most wonderful care by the entire hospice, doctors, nurses and all staff during his most difficult journey. I now work there as a volunteer as I am unable to provide financial assistance but if I worked there for the next 30 years I would still never repay them for what they did.”
Emma Ross said on Facebook, “The staff were so supportive and caring and nothing was too much to ask. It was peace of mind for us knowing that Mum got what she needed when she needed it. In a word the hospice means everything to those needing it.”
St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.
Supported 2,494 patients and family, friends, carers, loved ones
1,197 patients were supported by St Richard’s Community Nursing Teams
303 new patients were admitted into the In-patient Unit
213 patients attended Day Hospice
1,234 individuals were helped by the Family Support Team including 80 under 18 year olds
Volunteers contributed a total of 162,083 hours in 2015-2016. The equivalent value of which is £1,165,678.
It costs £8.2m gross (16/17 figure) a year to run all the St Richard’s services, including both patient care and all the necessary support services. St Richard’s receives 24.5% of this from the NHS which means the charity needs to find the remaining 75.5% through voluntary funds and their charity shops.