Hospice shows just what it takes as Hospice Care Week gets underway

Forty-four nurses and healthcare assistants; 13 cleaners, laundry and kitchen staff; two doctors; one pharmacy technician; a five-strong fundraising team; 200 volunteers; and 30,000 meals - this is just some of what it takes for St. Joseph’s Hospice to provide end of life care for people across Merseyside and West Lancashire and their loved ones.

And this is a fraction of what is needed for the hospice to fund end of life care for local people every year. The hospice also operates ten shops, hosts seven remembrance services and organises a calendar packed full of fun events for the local community.

St. Joseph’s Hospice is one of more than 200 charitable hospices across the UK taking part in Hospice Care Week (7-13 October), led by the national hospice and end of life care charity Hospice UK.

This year, the theme ‘This is What It Takes’ will highlight that while hospice care is provided free for people with life-limiting conditions and their families, it is not cheap and takes a lot of skills, people and resources.

Hospice care is about much more than medical care as hospices provide a wide range of services, including wellbeing therapies such as massage and reflexology, bereavement counselling and befriending. It means that hospices depend on the contribution of many other people such as: cleaners, cooks, therapists, shop staff, gardeners, as well as countless dedicated volunteers.

In order to provide all this, hospices rely heavily on the generous support of their local communities, including from companies, donors and hospice fundraising supporters. This year, many charitable hospices are facing considerable financial challenges, so the support they receive from the public is more important than ever before.

St. Joseph’s Hospice is marking Hospice Care Week by hosting a week full of awareness raising events for all sectors of the community and local business, as well as staff, volunteers, patients and families, and showing the public what it needs to provide its services, using the hashtag #ThisIsWhatItTakes.

Mike Parr, chief executive of St. Joseph’s Hospice, said: “Hospice Care Week is really important as it gives hospices across the UK a national voice and helps us to show people just what hospices do day in, day out and how vital fundraising is to keeping them open and providing the care that is so important to those living with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

“Like all hospices, St. Joseph’s Hospice has to continue asking people from across the communities we serve for their support and we have to find new ways of engaging with new supporters. This is the only way we can continue to provide all the care and services we do for those approaching the end of their lives.”

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of national hospice and end of life care charity Hospice UK, said: “Hospices provide incredible care and improve the lives of so many people with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones. During Hospice Care Week, we’d like to give a big shout out to everyone involved in making this happen for over 200,000 families every single year and show just what it takes.

“We want to give people a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of the sheer diversity of people and resources that goes into the compassionate care provided to people at the end of their lives and why hospices are truly at the heart of their communities.

“We hope that in Hospice Care Week people will be inspired to support their local hospice in different ways; whether by donating, volunteering or helping to spread the word about hospice care on social media.

“This year is proving to be really tough for the hospice sector on several fronts, whether related to fundraising or recruitment challenges, so it has never been more important for people to support their local hospice.”

Each year in the UK, hospices care for than 200,000 people with terminal and life-limiting conditions and also provide bereavement support for more than 40,000 families.

More information about Hospice Care Week is available on Hospice UK’s website.