Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Hospice have beds?
No. Our aim is to help people and their families who are living with a life limiting illness stay and be cared for in their own communities, if that is their wish. This could be in their own home by providing our Hospice at Home service, day or night, in one of the community hospitals, or in either of the Hospice buildings in Alnwick or Berwick where people can come for a few hours for support, therapies, professional advice and guidance. HospiceCare is more about what we do rather than the building where we do it.
Do you just see people with Cancer
No. The Hospice will support anyone with other conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease, Advanced Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, Heart Failure, Chronic Lung Conditions and Renal Disease. A life limiting illness is any condition where there is no cure and progressively gets worse.
Is this Hospice all about dying?
No. The Hospice’s philosophy is all about supporting people to live with their illness whilst seeking the best quality of life possible. It’s all about putting the person and the family at the centre and asking them what will make a difference or improve their life at that moment. We often get to know people for several years depending on what point of their journey they access Hospice support. I always tell people to use the Hospice like a slow moving train and hop on and off whichever platform they choose and at a time of their choosing. The Hospice never closes its support to anyone who needs it.
Are you part of Macmillan or Marie Curie?
No. We are an independent small local charity who has no financial input or support from either of these charities. One of the main reasons why the Hospice started nearly 20 years ago was because people had to travel to Gosforth to access St Oswald’s day services. Also our Hospice at Home service began in 2009 because there was limited palliative care available in someone’s home either overnight or during the day. The two Macmillan nurses in North Northumberland do refer into the Hospice services and the palliative care consultant from St Oswald’s provides medical care in North Northumberland, so sometimes a patient may be known to all three services, but HospiceCare continues to be the main local provider for palliative care.
How much do I pay for my care?
Nothing. All Hospice services are free.
What is Hospice at Home?
HospiceCare is not about the building, but more about the way we provide and deliver your care and support. HospiceCare is all about dignity, comfort and quality of life whilst respecting your wishes and if your wish is to be cared for at home then we aim to look after you and your family in a way which is meaningful and most important to you. Essentially, we bring the Hospice to you and help to care for you in your familiar surroundings with your loved ones, any time day or night.
"I never wanted to put my mam in hospital and with your support we achieved our objective and extremely grateful for that."
How do I access Hospice at Home services
You can ask your district nurse, GP, Macmillan nurse or care manager from social services to make a referral for you. Alternatively, you can refer yourself. Once the referral is received we will telephone you to arrange a visit by a Hospice trained nurse at a convenient time to you and your family.
"As soon as night care was requested by the District Nurse, it was provided."
What will the Hospice at Home nurses, carers and volunteers do?
The Hospice trained nurse will discuss any problems, worries or fears which are of most concern to you and your family. After these discussions a care plan will then be put in place to meet your expressed and identified needs including your families. Hospice at Home care delivery is tailored to suit your needs so we depend on you to share with us what it is that would be the most helpful. It does not matter what time of day your preferred care and support is required as it is all about you and your family!
The Hospice carers, who are all experienced with additional skill and knowledge in caring for someone with an illness such as yours, can stay overnight if needed and they will stay awake to care for you whilst your family have some sleep and rest. Depending on the level of care and support you and your family need, we may introduce a volunteer to you. The volunteer has training and support from the Hospice trained nurses and can stay with you for several hours if your family need to go out or need some time for themselves. The Hospice trained nurse will regularly reassess your changing needs and can increase or decrease the intensity of care provided as necessary.
"It was very comforting to know that there was someone who could take over and help when we were getting very tired."
I already have daily carers?
The Hospice at Home service is often in addition to your current care which may be being provided from social services. Any care which the Hospice provides is based on the question ‘what care and support can we help with which will make a difference to you and your family?’
"Suddenly I was able to go to bed for the first time in a week."
Will my District Nurse and Macmillan nurse still visit me?
Yes! Hospice at Home is one piece of the ‘jigsaw’ which makes up your team who provide and deliver your care and support. We work very closely with district nurses, Macmillan nurses, GP’s and social services using a shared care approach, but you are always welcome to contact us directly to see what support we have available for you. Don’t be afraid to ask as the Hospice is here for you and your family!