Share this article
Arthur Rank Hospice is urging the Cambridgeshire community to continue their support of its ‘Help Us Be There’ campaign! £24,137 (as of 11am, 16 July 2019), which equates to 51 additional nights and one quarter of the £100,000 target, has now been raised since the campaign launched in May! The Charity would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to the local community for their contributions so far and requests that they share this exciting news to encourage further support. £75,863 (as of 11am, 16 July 2019), remains to be raised to reach the appeal’s £100,000 target; an amount which will fund an additional 200 nights of vital Hospice at Home care over the next year. The team provide specialist end of life care, overnight, to patients in their own homes across Cambridgeshire. The care given to patients who choose to remain in their own home – and the support provided to their families – is free of charge to the patient. However, the cost of one night of care for each patient equates to £472. Regrettably, limited funding means that the team have been unable to provide care to one in three patients who need their support, each night. Every day, the Hospice at Home team is faced with difficult choices about who to prioritise for their services. As Sarah Chipchase, one of the service’s Clinical Nurse Specialists, explains in the campaign film produced in partnership with Mill River TV:“Every day we’re having to turn away about one third of our patients. As a team we just don’t have enough people. It’s heart-breaking”. The film also features two stories from family members: one from Michael Barnes, whose wife Svitlana was cared for by the Hospice at Home team in February 2019; and another from Xanthe Barker, whose family and husband Sam were supported in July 2018. Xanthe says: “You always knew when Sam had arrived; he was “an amazingly vivacious person, […] a bundle of energy.” A father of two young children, he had an enormous number of friends, read lots of books and was well known for his sharp intelligence and sense of humour: “He was always slightly pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable and making jokes. […] He loved to question everything. And he was just so loving. He was a great dad.”The family’s world was upturned when they discovered that Sam had Stage 4 bowel cancer, at the age of just 35: “It wasn’t the future we had hoped for or imagined as a family at all. […] It was a huge rollercoaster. From the diagnosis we knew that there was only one outcome and the question was just how long we had. […] He really wanted to have as much time as he could with the children, to see our youngest start school. It was hugely hard.”Months of extensive hospital stays during the previous months of treatment, had put immense strain on the couple and their children. When it came to the decision about where Sam should spend his final days, the needs of their family came first:“Because we have two small children, in the end, we felt really strongly that home was the right place for Sam to die.” Xanthe explains that the support they received from Arthur Rank’s Hospice at Home team during this time, was critical:“If we hadn’t had the support of the Hospice at Home, Sam couldn’t have stayed at home at the end, there was just no way. […] They would stay awake the whole night, look after any pain medications and anything else he needed, and just allow me to have a night off and sleep in my own bed. But I would still be at home, still be under the same roof. I knew that they’d come wake me up if needed, which was amazing.”“Then there is the other aspect, which for me was sort of more important in terms of feeling like I could manage the care at home. There was a lovely lady who came and talked us through the care and everything that was happening. I never felt left alone to deal with all of this. The emotional support was really key. […] They understood that it was really important that I was looking after myself as well.”Xanthe came to discover the Hospice at Home team’s support was multi-faceted. She continues to explain how knowing that the Hospice at Home team’s specialist skills and advice were just a phone call away, helped her look after herself, Sam and the children better:“I think being able to not just be Sam’s carer but Sam’s wife at the end was really important. […] We could actually really enjoy our time together as well. Sam was a big reader, so I read to him a lot in those last few weeks and we could chat about stuff and he wanted to record little videos for the kids. He was still daddy, even in the midst of everything that was going on for us. Hospice at Home allowed us to be family together, the four of us, at the end.”Xanthe chose to tell their story as part of the Help Us Be There campaign, in the hope that more nights of Hospice at Home care can be funded for those that need it such a crucial time, not only for the patients but for the whole family:“The fact that the team made us feel so secure and loved, in what was a really horrible time, that is incredibly special.” The Hospice at Home team provide specialist end of life care, seven nights a week, 365 days a year to hundreds of patients each year across Cambridgeshire. Patients believed to be in the last two weeks of life, who wish to remain at home are referred into the service through their GP, local hospital or registered nursing team. One of the service’s Healthcare Assistants (who are specialists, trained in palliative care) will then visit a patient in their home overnight, between 10.00pm and 7.00am, to provide hands-on support. They help manage the individual’s symptoms and offer emotional, psychological and bereavement support to both patients and their families. An on-call Registered Nurse can give additional assistance when more complex problems or a need for extra or different medication arises. You can support the Hospice at Home’s ‘Help Us Be There’ campaign by: sharing details with your friends, family and neighbours; visiting https://www.arhc.org.uk/helpusbethereby.asp; watching the campaign video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFDeudn_5xE&t=6s; or reading Xanthe and Sam’s full story at https://www.arhc.org.uk/helpusbethere.asp – where you can also discover more about the incredible team behind Arthur Rank’s Hospice at Home service.