Isabel Hospice: A legacy of care

PUBLISHED: 01:16 03 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:17 20 February 2013

Isabel Hospice: A legacy of care

Isabel Hospice: A legacy of care

We can't put days into life, but we strive to put life into days, explains Gill Macdonald at Isabel Hospice...

THE dedication and drive of a Welwyn Garden City woman named Isabel Last made Isabel Hospice the place it is today. As the hospice nears its 30th anniversary, we are proud to offer a comprehensive range of specialist end-of-life to the people of eastern Hertfordshire.
Hospice care cannot by its very nature offer a cure as our patients have life-limiting illnesses; however, the palliative care we offer means we treat the whole person, not simply the illness, and strive to put life into their last days.

Working for you

Our comprehensive service includes Palliative Care Consultants and Doctors at our In-Patient Unit who liaise with our Community Team when they make home and Day Hospice visits. We also have an Allied Health Team which comprises a Physiotherapy Team, an Occupational and a Lymphodoema Therapist, a Benefits Advisor and a Family Support Team.

Our 12 Community Nurse Specialists work with patients living in their own homes, nursing and specialist care homes to help control their symptoms and manage their medication. Unfortunately many people are often confused by the role of Macmillan Nurses. Macmillan do not provide any community home nursing in eastern Hertfordshire. Any patient visited by a nurse in their own home, will have been visited by an Isabel Hospice Community Nurse Specialist, not a Macmillan Nurse.

Care at home

From research, we know that many terminally ill people would prefer to spend their last days at home with family and friends rather than be admitted to hospital or a Hospice. Our Community Nurses work closely with our Hospice at Home team to realise this wish, and can provide specialist end-of-life care for the patient, whilst supporting the family in the last days and weeks.

Some patients choose to spend their last days in the comfort and security of our In-Patient Unit located behind the QEII hospital. It is from here that our 24 hour Advice Line is staffed, so patients and their families have access to medical advice, a service especially useful at night, when things can seem so much worse, and a friendly professional voice is a vital lifeline.

A place to rest

For those patients who do not need in-patient care, we have four Day Hospices in Welwyn Garden City, Hoddesdon, Waltham Cross and Bishops Stortford.

Their geographical location, spread across our catchment area, means our patients never need to travel far from home to be able to visit these nurse-led facilities. Whilst there they can talk to medical staff, benefit from one of the complementary therapies our volunteers offer, or take part in some creative activities such as silk painting. They may choose to simply sit and chat to other patients, or maybe to our Chaplain who is there to give emotional and spiritual support to people of any or no faith.

We care for patients and their families from the point of referral to the Hospice through into bereavement, and could not provide such a comprehensive service without the dedication and support of our staff and the many volunteers who give up their time selflessly for their hospice.

We need help too

Our running costs are budgeted this financial year at just under 5 million, with around 3.5 million of that coming from charitable sources such as donations and from our 14 charity shops. We are supported by around 900 volunteers, without whom our running costs would inevitably be higher.

As the Primary Care Trusts are abolished and more responsibility for commissioning end-of-life services goes to the local GPs, our current funding arrangements will inevitably change.

Whatever the framework in which we will be operating in the future, our priority is to give our patients and their families the best care we can. We are very aware that we only get one chance to get our end-of-life care right, and that is both a privilege and a great responsibility.

Isabel Hospice, Head Office
61 Bridge Road East
Welwyn Garden City AL7 1JR
01707 382500

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