I work for St Peter’s Hospice. I am a very lucky woman.
St Peter’s Hospice, or SPH, is a charity based in Bristol which looks after adults living with a life-limiting illness. The area covered includes all of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, much of North Somerset and parts of BaNES, a huge area. I hope that this is the first in a series of posts about this wonderful place.
Living is the important word. St Peter’s helps patients and their families to live well with what is happening to them. Doctors and nurses are experts in palliative care and many other health professionals turn to them for advice.
Many many people think (including a good proportion of those referred to SPH) that as soon as the word hospice is mentioned they are at death’s door and that they are being taken into a dark, sad ward to die.
This is wrong on every level. Only a small proportion of the approx. 2500 patients a year referred are actually admitted to the In-Patient Unit (IPU). The vast majority stay at home and are supported by highly qualified specialist nurses who visit them there. This can be for weeks, months and occasionally years.
In addition to the nurses who visit at home, there is a Day Hospice. Patients visit the hospice one day a week for 12 weeks. A maximum of 20 patients per day are given both specialist and peer support, help with relaxation and exercise, talks on aspects of their condition and a three course meal. Volunteer drivers transport the patients to and from the hospice giving their carers some valuable alone time. More on the volunteers another day.
Other services available to patients and families are Occupational and Physical Therapy, Social Work, Counselling, Music and Art Therapy, Psychological Support and Hospice at Home.
The IPU itself is a cheerful positive place, full of light and hope. It is currently being rebuilt and in November the new building will be available to move into from temporary premises. A building fit for high quality, specialist dignified care for years to come. Some patients are admitted for end of life care and some for stabilisation before returning home. Families are welcome and included. Every room is single, with a bed settee for relatives and an ensuite bathroom.
The new building will include a beautiful sanctuary area and a café open to the public. I am really looking forward to the opening of the new facilities. Plus the Education department can have all of their rooms back which they have had to share!
I am a Clinical Administrator and occasional Receptionist. I absolutely love my job and I am proud to work for such a wonderful charity. It makes me a better person.
This post is written by me without input from anyone else. I hope I have shown St Peter’s Hospice in the best and true light. Any errors (I don’t think there any) are totally mine.