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Myth busting

Myth Busters

Myth Busters

What are hospices really like?

2 January 2019

For many people, the word hospice conjures up images of a gloomy building where people go to die. Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. In an attempt to set the record straight, here are five common myths about hospices and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Hospices must be sad places

Anne Hearn, Wellbeing Day Support Lead: “I meet many patients who come into the hospice for the first time and say it’s not what they expected. They expect a sad, quiet place, but instead find a light, vibrant room where lots of activities happen. I have been told so many times that it feels alive, happy and often full of laughter. I love working in the Anniversary Centre as I have met such a variety of brave and wonderful people who are living life as fully as they can.”

Myth 2: Hospices only provide medical care

David McKenzie, Rehab Assistant: “St Christopher’s provides a whole range of services that go beyond basic medical care; ranging from art activities and acupuncture to walking groups and rehabilitation in the gym. A lot of the patients that I work with in the gym are surprised that we even have one! But their referral to the gym is always a positive experience as we focus on supporting them to achieve their own personal goals. I love seeing people leave with a smile on their face, looking forward to their next session.”

Myth 3: Hospices are funded by the NHS

Philippa Kelham, Director of Campaigns: “In fact, only 29% of our funding comes from the NHS meaning that we have to raise £16 million each year to continue our work on the wards and out in the community. Aside from the money we raise through investments and our education courses; 63% of our income comes from your generosity! We are a charity and can only survive and thrive through the efforts of our wonderful supporters.”

Myth 4: Working at a hospice must be depressing

Lisa Tierney, Receptionist: “When I tell people that I work for a hospice they imagine that it’s a sad place to work. I tell them that actually it’s really upbeat, the building is bright and airy and the mood here is far from depressing. I often see the apprehension on people’s faces when they visit for the first time so I greet them with a huge smile and do my best to put them at ease. The best thing about my job is seeing these people leave with a completely different perspective on the hospice and the support we can give them.”

Myth 5: You can’t stay at home and receive care from your local hospice

Kate Shaw, Community Team Clinical Nurse Specialist: “Hospices are often seen as places where people go to spend their last days, but our team is here to support patients to be where they want to be at the end of their life. You can receive hospice care wherever your needs are best met and people are frequently discharged back home or to other places of care. We visit patients throughout the week including weekends to provide palliative care in the home. Last year we made over 11,000 home visits. The key to care at home is understanding what’s important to patients through good communication, forward planning and making sure they have the right information. It’s about shared decisions and being flexible when things change.”

2 January 2019


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