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What is a Hospice?

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A hospice is different to a hospital as it does not provide emergency care.

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A hospice is for people who have been told by a doctor that they will not get better and will eventually die.

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Try not to worry, our doctors and nurses will look after you in the hospice or at home.
You can choose.

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You don’t have to pay but we will need to see your hospital passport.

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You can plan to stay at the Hospice for two weeks so we can help you feel better.

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You can choose to ask for a nurse or social worker to visit you at home if you prefer.

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You can come to the hospice as an outpatient if you are able to travel.

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You can come once a week to Day Hospice where you can do activities like bingo and games.

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Volunteering at St Joseph’s Hospice

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A volunteer is someone who helps other people.

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They do lots of different jobs in the Hospice and in the community.

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Volunteers do not get paid.

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Café Volunteers help make tea and coffee for visitors.

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Retail Volunteers work in our shops.

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Volunteers also visit people in the community who are lonely.

These are just some of the ways volunteers help us.

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You can help us too if you are older than 17.

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We will support you to find the right volunteer role.

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Medicines in the last days of life

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When someone is nearly at the end of life, the person may spend more time sleeping.

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Some medicines won’t be needed any more. They can be stopped.

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We sometimes see pain, noisy chest, sickness and breathing problems. We are very good at stopping these problems.

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A syringe on a small pump is used to give a small dose of medicines over the whole day.

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This will keep a person as comfortable as possible. They may sleep a little or a lot.

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If the person is at home, the district nurse will bring the syringe pump with them.

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You can hold their hand and talk to them as it will comfort them.

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The family will need to collect any medicines from a pharmacy. This will be arranged by the GP and district nurses.

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Coming to stay at the Hospice

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When you come to the Hospice to stay, our doctors and nurses will try to make you feel comfortable.

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We can look after you if you are dying too.

There are things you will need to bring with you.

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Bring your hospital passport with you if you have one.

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Bring all your medicines and any medical equipment you need with you.

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Bring your clothes, nightclothes and toiletries.

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Visiting hours are 10am until 8pm.

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Your family or friends can telephone the ward any time, day or night.

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The nurse in charge can help you with any worries you have. Please ask.

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What happens in the last days of life?

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When someone is dying you will see some changes. These are normal so try not to worry.

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They may not want to eat and drink and their breathing may be noisy or heavy.

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They may want to sleep more and not want to talk. Remember this is normal.

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Our doctors and nurses will look after you and your loved one and will answer any questions.

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We have a Chaplaincy team you can talk to if you are religious or spiritual.

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Everyone who is dying has a Care Plan and our nurses will check this often to make sure they are giving the right support.

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Our nurses will try to tell you when they think your loved one may only have a few days to live.

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We will be there for your loved one to care and support them until the very end.

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Fluids in the last days of life

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We don’t always know when someone is nearly at the end of life

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The person may spend more time sleeping. They may not want to eat or drink.

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You can offer drinks unless you are told it isn’t safe. Sometimes it is easier to suck a a lolly or crushed ice.

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You can use a small sponge soaked in cold water or a favourite drink. It will help to keep the lips and tongue wet.

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There are also special saliva sprays and gels that may be used.

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Good mouth care is very important for giving comfort.

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The doctors and nurses will decide if a person needs a drip. It can make things worse so we might stop it.

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Try not to worry. The person will not suffer if they don’t eat or drink.

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Hospice Care in the Community

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Our Community Team
(CPCT) provides care and support where you live. They don’t give hands-on care.

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The Community Palliative Care Team may see you at an early stage of your illness.

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They might see you at a later stage of your illness.

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They have special knowledge about caring for people with very serious illness.

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They help with lots of things that might be making you feel unwell –like bad pain.

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They will listen and learn what is important to you and give you advice and support.

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They work together with GPs and district nurses to care for you.

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The community team has special nurses, doctors, social workers and some other people who will help.

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Bereavement Service at St Joseph’s Hospice

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When someone in your family or a friend dies it can be very hard.

This is called bereavement.

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You may need to talk to someone outside your family and friends who understands and can help.

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St Joseph’s Hospice can support you.

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Weekly counselling at St Joseph’s could help you cope with your loss.

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Or you can have counselling by telephone or video call.

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Families and couples can meet with a counsellor to talk about their bereavement and find ways to support each other.

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You can meet other bereaved people at one of our support groups or social clubs.

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They will understand what you are going through and you can find out how they cope.

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What is a Hospice?