Increasing numbers of people with a terminal illness wish to remain at home for their final days – and a hospice has extended its services to ensure their wishes are met.
Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley offers, as well as in-patient care, community care in patients’ own homes.
More support is now available at weekends, with members of the team covering every day of the week.
Clare Russell, head of clinical services at Wheatfields, said a diagnosis of a terminal illness posed an “incredible challenge” for the person affected and their loved ones.
“In particular weekends can be an extremely difficult time for carers when they often feel more isolated and vulnerable.
“We have reviewed which services patients and their carers could access so that they do not have to face extra fear, isolation and distress during such a difficult time and to reduce the risk of unnecessary admission into hospital, helping patients and carers spend as much time in their preferred place of care.”
The occupational therapist, physiotherapists and community nurse specialists from Wheatfields are now available seven-days-a-week and in the last six months, hundreds of patients and families have been supported at the weekends.
Clare added: “What this extra support means is that people feel safer during the weekend, we have specialists who can help them and offer advice. This is a cost-effective solution which has helped to reduce unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital. These services also help improve patients’ quality of life as well as their general wellbeing.”
When Alison Perfitt was told her neuroendocrine cancer was terminal, it was important for her to remain at home in Guiseley. Early in 2015 she was referred to Wheatfields, and the hospice’s specialists ensured her wishes were followed.
Alison’s husband Simon said: “It was really important for us both that Alison was able to be at home. This was the place where she wanted to die.
“The whole community team including doctors, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, complementary therapist and community nurse specialist from Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice made this possible.”
Alison died in May last year, with the quality of life she wanted to maintain.
There was also support for Simon, both before and after her death.
He has has started volunteering at the hospice, which he says helps give him a “sense of purpose”.
“We were very blessed to be able to access Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice’s care services,” the 62-year-old added.
* Services at Wheatfields are free but cost £12,000-a-day to run. Fundraisers are calling on people to support a special “recipe” to support its vital care:
Add a pinch of courage and take on the Scarborough New Year’s Day Dip next year, add a dash through Leeds on November 6 at the 10k Abbey Dash, a hint of vintage at the hospice’s Vintage Fair on October 29, sprinkle in some generosity by volunteering and mix in some magic at the Christmas Fair on November 26.
Donate: www.sueryder.org/wheatfields or 0113 278 7249.