St Elizabeth Hospice’s OneCall advice line offers specialist support wherever you are.
The groundbreaking helpline offers 24-hour expert advice from senior registered nurses seven days a week to members of the public, patients, relatives, carers, GPs, nurses and other medical professionals.
When in the midst of difficult times such as coping with an illness or caring for a loved one, it is important for all members of the community to have quick and easy access to appropriate support and the correct facts.
Verity Jolly, St Elizabeth Hospice’s Director of Patient Services, said: “Our OneCall advice line is a very successful service and it has grown beyond expectation since it was launched four years ago. We have expanded the service to cover not just East Suffolk, but Great Yarmouth and Waveney too, and we take over 1,100 calls every month.
“Having one phone number for anyone in East Suffolk and South Norfolk who wants advice or information about our Hospice and palliative care issues helps us to reach out to the whole of the local community.
“Some people feel desperate when they make the calls and can be quite distressed. We get a lot of calls in the middle of the night when people may feel alone and have nowhere to turn. Families want advice around symptoms and we are able to advise them and often put their minds at rest.”
Whether it is 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 in the Hospice’s catchment area – and sometimes beyond.
Norman Finbow used the OneCall service while caring for his wife Linda who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July 2012.
They took full advantage of OneCall, and even used the service when they were on their holiday of a lifetime – a cruise stopping in Venice and Athens.
Mr Finbow said: “At the end of our cruise when we got to Athens, Linda started getting a lot of pain in her leg. She was in excruciating pain and I had given her all the pain relief that had been prescribed, so I called OneCall and spoke to one of the nurses and he very calmly advised me on how to help. And that’s the sort of service you get, they were brilliant.
“When you’re caring for somebody who you know is going to die from that illness, all you’re interested in is making sure their final days are as pleasurable and pain free as possible because that’s all you can hope for – and that’s what the Hospice at Home team and the OneCall service gave us.”
Referals to St Elizabeth Hospice can also come through OneCall – from patients, family members and carers, as well as health professionals.
There is just one number to ring – 0800 567 0111 – and calls are free from a BT landline.
Michael Twomey’s wife Linda was in excruciating pain before she came to the Hospice.
Linda was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010 and she had an operation to remove the cancer but was left with a colostomy bag, an irreversible procedure. She was in and out of hospital for the next year due to the pain but they could never find the cause.
Michael didn’t know what else he could do to help his wife until one day an off-duty Hospice nurse overheard him and his son talking about Linda and suggested ringing the OneCall advice line to tell them Linda’s story.
“Within days of calling we had an appointment with Dr Kelvin Bengtson and he was so understanding and helpful, and promised he would do all he could to control Linda’s pain and make her more comfortable.”
Since then Linda has stayed on the Inpatient Unit to find the most suitable medications. To help her cope day to day she was offered complementary therapies and she currently attends a Gentle Moves exercise group weekly to improve her mobility.
“Today Linda still has pain but is managing it so much better all thanks to the help of the Hospice.
“St Elizabeth Hospice is a very special place, everybody is so happy, friendly, and you are made to feel so welcome. I was really worried about Linda because she was so upset from the pain; coming here was like winning the lottery for both of us.
“Myself and Linda haven’t looked back since we made that phone call three years ago, and Dr Bengtson has kept his promise to Linda.”