While Dame Cicely Saunders made it her life’s work to make good end of life care accessible for all, it’s hard to imagine that, visionary as she may have been, she could ever have imagined her life’s work and the history of St Christopher’s Hospice, would ever be available to read, watch and listen to on a phone small enough to fit into your pocket.
With the generous support of Women in Fellowship, we have launched an app that does just that and more.
The app was created to meet the huge global demand for information about the architect of the modern hospice movement as well as to provide the many visitors to the hospice with an accessible, engaging tour of many of its fascinating features and help break down barriers and dispel myths about hospices, death and dying.
Whether used on a physical visit to the hospice, or from anywhere in the world, users will have the ability to take a fascinating journey through the history of the hospice as well as a tour of the key features of the building itself, from the palm of their hand.
The story of St Christopher’s is told via audio, video and the written word, providing users with a multi-media experience. Users can enjoy clips from television and radio interviews given by Dame Cicely, as well as historic documents, like the letter she wrote to her long-time collaborator, Dr Mary Baines, spelling out plans for extending hospice care into patients’ homes and a photograph of Dame Cicely with the late Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. These are just some the many gems that combine to bring to life the last 50-plus since Dame Cicely founded the hospice.
The tour is suitable for patients and their families as well members of the local community unfamiliar with and perhaps historically reluctant to walk through our front door. Visitors will be guided via a map along with easy to understand written directions and photographs.
Professionals and visitors from further afield, drawn by a fascination with this ground-breaking place, will get to tour the most recent addition to the site – the brand new, state of the art St Christopher’s Centre for Awareness and Response to End of Life (CARE), complete with the latest high-tech equipment to enhance the learning experience.
At many of the 14 stop-off points on the tour, app users can watch a short video interview with key members of hospice staff explaining the significance or role of that specific location or service, whether it’s the gym, Anniversary Centre, Arts Pavilion or extensive and relaxing gardens.
While visitors are not permitted to actually enter the wards it is possible to get a feel for their light, open and accessible atmosphere and Consultant Nurse, Anne Nash, provides a myth-busting description of the role they play in patient care. Visitors will also discover the famous school and princess after whom two of the three wards are named.
Fittingly, the tour finishes a ten-minute walk from the hospice, at the house where Dame Cicely lived for the last four decades of her life.
In conjunction with the recently launched Oral History project, which will record the voices of those involved in the evolution of St Christopher’s since it opened in 1967, both clinicians and community members, the site, story and surroundings of St Christopher’s has never been so accessible.
Download the app now. Simply go to the App Store or Google Play and search for St Christopher’s Hospice and then hit download.
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