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Funding boost will help hospice support those caring for dying loved ones

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Funding boost will help hospice support those caring for dying loved ones

St Nicholas Hospice Care has received £20,000 from West Suffolk Council to help pay for some of the support it offers across the area to people caring for loved ones who are dying.

This funding will help pay for the work hospice healthcare assistants do in West Suffolk to support and advise those looking after their loved ones at home when they are at the end of life.

Victoria Bowman, St Nicholas Hospice Care’s Trusts and Grants Lead, said: “We are so grateful to West Suffolk Council for deciding that some of their Community Chest funding should go to the hospice this year.

“This funding will make a massive difference to us and our work to ensure that everyone has the very best care at the end of their lives.

“Our healthcare assistants do an amazing job in the community. They support people and their families at the most difficult times in their lives.

“We have seen that the coronavirus has led to an increase in the number of people wanting to die at home.

“In 2020-21 our community nursing team, which our hospice healthcare assistants are an important part of, saw a 28 per cent increase in the number of patients dying at home. Based on this, we believe the funding from West Suffolk Council could help us to support 400 people caring for someone who is dying at home.”

As part of their work, hospice healthcare assistants go to patients’ homes to coach family members to develop caring skills. This can include teaching practical skills such as managing mouth care at the end of life or turning someone in bed safely. They can also signpost families to other hospice services, which may be able to help.

Patsy has been a hospice healthcare assistant at St Nic’s for the past nine months. She visits those in the community at the end of their lives and offers emotional and practical support to those caring for them.

Patsy said: “Providing support for families and those caring for people at the end of their lives is such an important part of what we do. The support we give enables loved ones and carers to provide what is needed to help people stay at home, which is where most people want to be when they are dying, surrounded by the people, pets and surroundings they love.

“We provide those caring for them with education on the personal care side of supporting someone how to move people in their beds, but we are also there for emotional support and to give advice on things that they may be worried about, we treat them in the same way we do our patients, as individuals.

“Often, when we arrive, people are very stressed. They have a lot of worries, and we try to help them cope. It is a big thing to accept help; people will say, ‘no, we can manage, we can manage, and that’s their choice, but they need to know that we are here for what they need, we are there for them. Our support can also help them still be who they are. A wife is still a wife. A husband is still a husband.”

West Suffolk Council made £466,733 worth of Community Chest funding available for 2022-23, which, including St Nicholas Hospice Care, has resulted in 30 community groups, charities and voluntary organisations benefiting from their support.