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31st August 2022

At home with you in Tendring

More than 90% of the care and support St Helena Hospice provides is to people in their homes across the whole of north east Essex.

St Helena Hospice supported 1,951 patients and families facing incurable illness and bereavement living in towns and villages across the Tendring district from April 2021 to March 2022.

Nicky Coombes, Hospice in the Home matron, said:

“When people think of St Helena Hospice, they often think of the building in Colchester where people are admitted for care, when in fact the majority of our patients are supported and cared for in their place of residence such as their own home or a care home.

“By visiting and supporting them and their families at home, we are helping people to make their own choices and live with dignity. Hospice care is holistic, meaning we care for the whole person as an individual, and we support their loved ones too at what is a difficult time.”

Hospice in the Home includes nurse specialists, physio and occupational therapists, family support and counsellors, and the SinglePoint team, including rapid response nurses, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week every day of the year. Additionally, the Virtual Ward healthcare assistants provide personal care for people at home thought to be in the last 12 weeks of life.

St Helena Hospice works very closely with colleagues from other local health and social care providers such as GPs, community nurses and social services, to ensure the best possible care is provided to those in need.

Discovering that hospice support happens in people’s homes, came as a surprise to Ricky and Anne Aldons, who live in Harwich. Ricky was referred to St Helena Hospice a year ago by his oncology specialist after living with prostate cancer over 12 years. A little apprehensive at first, Ricky soon began to look forward to visits to his home from the Hospice specialist nurses and rehabilitation team. Ricky said:

“We thought hospice was just right at the end of life. Then I met the people and saw how nice they were, and I know now it's more than for the end of life. End of life is there, but there's a lot happening before that. I find it a lovely organisation that hasn't made me feel gloomy but has livened me up!

“They’re so nice and caring and put us all at ease. In fact, every time my Hospice nurse visits me at home there is much laughter together, which really makes us feel better and makes all the difference at this difficult time in our lives.

“They put some handrails in at our home so I can get out into the garden which I so love. I have a favourite flowering cherry plant which only comes out once a year and I was able to get out there and see it.

“My Hospice nurse always asks Anne how she and our daughters and grandchildren are feeling, because they are part of this too. It’s so important to me to know they are being wrapped up in the embrace and by looking out for the whole family, the Hospice has helped us through so many days.”

Image: Ricky and Anne with nurse at home

Ricky and Anne with nurse Emma Mazerolle

More from Ricky and Anne

Ricky and Anne admit they always make the best of everything, valuing time spent together with their family and friends, even more so after Anne too was diagnosed with cancer. Anne said:

“We feel as though we've got an arm around our shoulders. Although we knew about the Hospice, we didn't know about what they did in the home; the intricacies of the actual way it works, all the good things that come. I don't feel as worried about the end, which will eventually come for both of us. I don't feel so worried about it now because I know there's this organisation that puts its arms around your shoulders.”

Meet some of the team who visit people at home across Tendring...

background-image Becky Gatt, clinical nurse specialist

"People may have been struggling for quite a long time when we arrive for the first time, and they’re so pleased we can support them and make things easier for them. "

- Becky Gatt, clinical nurse specialist

background-image Nicky Holland, clinical nurse specialist and non medical prescriber

"Building up a really good therapeutic relationship with patients and their families is important because you're in their home. "

- Nicky Holland, clinical nurse specialist and non medical prescriber

background-image Emma Setterington, clinical nurse specialist

"We get to know them as a whole, we get to know their family, and reassure people it’s not scary when we get to the door; we’re very friendly! "

- Emma Setterington, clinical nurse specialist

background-image Abi Harris, clinical nurse specialist

"Looking after people in their own homes gives them a forum to discuss their concerns and worries in a safe environment. "

- Abi Harris, clinical nurse specialist

background-image Nicola Smeeth

"We work as a team to help them live their lives and do the things that are important to them. "

- Nicola Smeeth


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