Whoever you are, wherever you live – you should be able to live as you choose and never more so is this the case than after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. A diagnosis can bring life into sharp focus, it can highlight what is important to you, and it can also throw life into disarray. Whatever your reaction, or the reaction of a loved one, as a patient or family member you should be able to access the care and support you need. That’s where a hospice can come in.
Hospices across Scotland offer care and support to people in their local areas and at St Columba’s Hospice, people from across Edinburgh and the Lothians can access the services they need that will be helpful to them. This might include medical and nursing care, counselling, bereavement support, social work, chaplaincy, art therapy, complementary therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
The Hospice has cared for people from Edinburgh for the last 40 years and now, more and more people from across the region are needing access to the Hospice’s specialist services. However, for a myriad of reasons, many people across the region who could benefit from palliative care are not receiving support that could enhance their quality of life with a terminal illness.
St Columba’s Hospice wants to bring its services to more people, in particular people in East Lothian, to reach those who need support in Dunbar, Cockenzie, Aberlady, North Berwick, Haddington and everywhere in between.
The people in this area might be supported by one of the Hospice’s community nurse specialists.
Lynn Darke works in this team: “My day-to-day work is out in the community, meeting people in their own homes,” she says. “The primary motive I have when I start meeting someone new to the Hospice is to engage with them and to get a relationship going. When we meet someone for the first time we work out what that person’s priorities are, and the priorities for the people giving care. For most of the people we support, we become involved in helping them as people rather than patients – we look at the big picture, include the family and understand what they can cope with, and use our experience of how things may transpire in the future.”
In order to support more people in the community, the Hospice has launched a fundraising appeal called A Summer to Remember. The Hospice is asking the public to make a donation and complete a piece of bunting with the name of a loved one and a special memory.
The Hospice will display the pieces of bunting at a special event in Lomond Park, Edinburgh on Sunday 20 August, to which everyone is welcome. Funds raised from this appeal will help the Hospice reach more people out in the community, to provide the care and support people need and the access to specialist services.
The Hospice’s director of fundraising, Jon Heggie, says: “This is a new appeal to raise much-needed funds for the Hospice and we are inviting people to take part and remember a loved one.
“It’s vital that we fundraise for the Hospice as around 25 per cent of our income comes from the NHS, which leaves the vast majority of our income coming from the wonderful people who support us from Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond. It costs £8.6 million to run the Hospice every year, which includes our inpatient unit, our day therapies service, our outpatient unit and our community services.
“The more money we can raise from this appeal, the more people we can reach who need our support.”
Lynn adds: “It’s crucial to understand that a hospice isn’t just a building, it’s more than that. It’s really important to recognise that hospice care is a way of thinking and looking at how people live when they have been given a life limiting diagnosis.
“For me, the Hospice is about what we do with people, whether it is in our building, in a care home, a nursing home or in somebody’s own home. We take hospice to the community.”
To support the Summer to Remember appeal please go to www.stcolumbashospice.org.uk/summer.