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The In-patient Unit frequently asked questions

Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about our services that we hope you will find useful.

The In-patient Unit: frequently asked questions

  • What kind of care does the In-patient Unit provide?
  • The IPU provides specialist palliative care that seeks to promote and maintain the best possible quality of life for you, taking into account the needs and wishes of you and your family. We try to respond to all of the needs that a patient or family may have – whether that is for pain and symptom control, physical problems or issues of a spiritual, emotional, social or psychological nature.

  • How and why patients are referred to the In-patient Unit?
  • After discussion with a patient and their family, the team of nurses and doctors who are caring for them on a day-to-day basis will have decided that the patient would benefit from a stay on the In-patient Unit.

    Patients may be admitted for several reasons, usually for the management of symptoms or for end of life care.  Many patients return home or to an appropriate place of care, for example a nursing home.

  • Who will care for me?
  • During a stay, patients will be cared for by members of the hospice team, which is made up of doctors, nurses, social worker, counsellors, chaplain, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, Citizens Advice Bureau Advisers and many others depending on a patient’s needs.

  • Can my relatives/friends come and see me?
  • Please see here for updated advice for visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • How long can I stay as an in-patient?
  • Many people find that a relatively short period of in-patient care makes a real difference to how they are feeling and enables them to return home feeling more comfortable. St Richard’s has 17 beds and there is a high demand for them. This means we cannot be a permanent alternative to care either in your own home, your care home or nursing home. If your symptoms are well managed but it would be difficult for you to go back to your own home, then we will always help you and your family and friends to find other places where you can continue your care.

  • Will St Richard’s still provide support when I go home?
  • Yes. St Richard’s provides specialist nursing care in people’s own homes so we can continue to support you and your family and friends when you return home. Our St Richard’s Nurse Specialists and Hospice at Home team offers care and support as well as a 24 hour telephone advice line. They also work closely with GPs, district nurses and social services carers. If you would like to know more about these services, please talk to a member of the nursing team. Services are currently working in different ways to keep people safe during the pandemic.

  • Aren’t hospices just for people who have a few weeks to live?
  • No. St Richard’s provides care to people whose illnesses are no longer curable and who have symptoms that need our specialist support. While some people using our services may only have a few weeks to live, others may have many months or even years to live.

  • What if I need to go to hospital while I am a St Richard’s in-patient?
  • If you need to go to a hospital appointment we can arrange transport or you can make your own arrangements. This may be subject to Covid-restrictions.

  • Can I give a gift to staff who have been looking after me?
  • We know that many patients and families like to show their appreciation of staff through giving presents but staff are not able to accept individual gifts. Find out how to make a donation and support St Richard’s.

  • How can I be referred?
  • Patients who would like support from St Richard’s can be referred by their GP, consultant, district nurse or health care professional. Patients, or a person close to them,  can also speak to our Gateway referral team themselves for information or advice.

    In all cases the GP, who is the key person in charge of that patient’s care, will be contacted. We will then phone to arrange a convenient date and time to visit so that we can discuss and plan the support that we can offer and the care that may be needed. At all stages we will work in partnership with the community teams and acute hospital services involved in the patient’s care.

    If you would like more information about referral please contact our Gateway Team on 01905 763963.

  • What is your policy on illegal substances?
  • St Richard’s has a zero tolerance policy for illegally procured drugs. Please do not bring any illicit substances, including cannabis, onto our premises. Any patients or visitors who refuse to comply with this policy will be discharged or asked to leave, and the hospice Crime Prevention Police Officer will be informed.