14th July 2015

Welcoming Barbados hospice visitors

A chance meeting by a pool led to a visit by members of the Barbados Cancer Association (BACA) to a Worcestershire hospice.

A team from BACA visited St Richard’s in Worcester last Friday (10th July) to learn more about the growth of the hospice from small community-based beginnings to the large, well-supported charitable organisation it is today.

The Barbados team also took the opportunity to attend the 15th Worcestershire Palliative Care Conference. BACA is intending to build a hospice in Barbados and have secured a gift of land for the project. St Richard’s governors, volunteers and staff were happy to share their objectives and experiences of hospice growth.

St Richard’s Fundraising Director, Tricia Cavell said, “I was fortunate enough to go on holiday to Barbados in 2014 and this visit has resulted from a conversation with a Barbados hospice supporter whilst relaxing by the pool! We continued to exchange ideas through email on my return to the UK. The wealth of ideas from both organisations really helped everyone’s learning about palliative care provision across the nations and we are thrilled to have put St Richard’s Hospice and Worcestershire on the map.”

St Richard’s Chief Executive Mark Jackson added, “It has been a huge privilege to host the visitors from BACA. Barbados does not yet have a hospice and I hope that we may have been able to help them achieve their dreams. It also gave us the chance to have a reunion of the St Richard’s team of former Trustees and Care Director, with the Patrons and Architects that created our hospice here. As we swapped ideas and experiences with the Barbadians it was noticeable how we shared the universal philosophy of hospice care that encompasses compassion and care for patients, families and carers at a most difficult time in their lives. “

The visitors included O’Neall Parris, MD, MPH President , Barbados Cancer Association USA (BACA), Inc; Jessica Odle, JP, Vice President, BACA; Heather Marsh, BBA, Secretary, BACA; Dr. Margaret Sukhram (EDD), Vice President, Caribbean American Medical & Scientific Association.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-threatening illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,600 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.

In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.