Families and carers
Coping with illness, loss and change is not easy for anyone. We offer a confidential service to support patients and families with the practical and emotional aspects of coping and living with a progressive illness.
This may involve practically planning for the future, for example what the patients personal care needs may be and how they will be met, applying for benefits, establishing where the patients preferred place of care and death is and their final wishes.
St Elizabeth Hospice OneCall
We have also launched St Elizabeth Hospice OneCall, for anyone to use for advice on palliative and supportive care.
Members of the public, patients, relatives, carers, GPs, nurses and other medical professionals, health and social care workers will all be able to get expert advice at the end of the phone - even in the middle of the night - from senior registered nurses, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When in the midst of difficult times such as caring for a loved-one, it is important to have quick and easy access to appropriate advice and the correct facts. Whether it be a patient facing a new symptom, a carer worried about giving the correct dosage of pain relief or a doctor with a query, OneCall is there to support everyone. Calls are free from a BT landline, calls from other networks and mobiles may vary.
Emotional support maybe needed with adapting to a changing lifestyle both for the patient and their family. Sometimes it can help to talk with someone who is not part of the family and who is a professionally trained and skilled listener and able to offer support with the challenges that living with a progressive illness can bring.
We also organise regular events aimed at supporting carers such as a restaurant evening at the Ipswich site for patients and their carers so they can enjoy a social activity in a supportive environment.
A range of services can be accessed through our family support team such as music therapy, art therapy, complementary therapy, spiritual care, emotional support and bereavement support. Family support is available to any person, their family, friends or carers who have been referred to Hospice.
- Liaison with health, social care and voluntary organisations in the community
- Information and advice regarding welfare benefits and legal matters
- Assisting patients and families with making private arrangements for home care or nursing care
- Liaising with social care concerning planning for discharges from the Hospice
- Counselling service
- Support groups
We work with families as a group
- Enabling couples and families to talk about what they are facing and gain support from one another
- Assisting families to make important decisions
- Preparing children, in partnership with their parents, for loss or support with their bereavement
- Negotiating and liaising with teachers and employers
We offer bereavement support to anyone who was close to the person who has died. This can be family members including children and grandchildren as well as carers or friends. We have an experienced family support team and bereavement volunteers who support people either individually or through regular bereavement groups held at the Ipswich site. Our bereavement services can be offered over the phone, by individual appointments or in a group, either at the Hospice, in people's own homes or in the community.
In Great Yarmouth and Waveney bereavement support is provided by the bereavement services at James Paget University Hospital or Cruse Bereavement Care or where specialist care is required through referral to the St Elizabeth Hospice team.
To help families and carers who are visiting Ipswich and do not know the area, the Hospice Partnership Group has put together some useful information. Please click here to download.
A family's experience of the support from St Elizabeth Hospice
Glenis is a family support worker from St Elizabeth Hospice. Here she describes the experience of Tom who was first diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago and his wife Anne and their three children - Samantha, 18, Jack, 15 and David, nine. This case is based on real people, names and certain details have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Toms latest scan has shown the tumour is not responding well to treatment which has obviously caused a lot of anxiety for the whole family. We therefore suggested he attend the Positive Living group, which meets once a week for six weeks and offers practical and emotional support to patients in situations like Toms. During one of the sessions the focus was on communication, Tom and Anne were encouraged and supported to explore what made it difficult for each of them to share how they felt.
"It's often hard for me and Anne to say how we feel to one another" Tom told us during the session. "I don't want to worry her and she doesn't want to worry me. There have been times when its been extremely hard especially for the children. They have to cope with what is happening to me as well as the other pressures of everyday life and it has been extremely difficult. Often I think we bottle up how we are feeling, which isn't healthy but I think this session will really help." Anne added "I don't always want to worry Tom because I don't feel like I should add to his load by going on about my problems. I think today's session has really made us more aware that the whole family need to help one another and to talk through the issues so we can try and come to terms with what is happening."
Its always difficult when you see a young family struggling to cope but by running sessions such as this we can tell them about the various ways we can help them to talk about what is happening or to express their feelings through music or art therapy, complementary therapy, support to the children, creative memories and counselling services.