We had a client meeting with a bit of a difference recently…
Not often do we get the chance in our working day to visit a place as wonderful as St Giles Hospice, but for four members of the Webb Associates team who work closely with our clients there – Amy, Shannon, Sian and Claire – they were very lucky to receive an eye-opening tour at the hospice in Whittington near Lichfield, to learn more about the amazing work they do.
The day started with the team meeting Helen Young, nurse consultant and manager of the Lymphoedema Clinic. She explained about the pioneering work that has been undertaken by the charity to offer free help with managing the symptoms of hereditary and secondary Lymphoedema, so that patients can live their lives to the full.
It was here our team learnt that St Giles Hospice was one of the first clinics in the UK to treat children with the condition – and now more than 1,800 patients in the catchment area receive care at St Giles.
After this, the group met with Katie Burbidge, Director of Clinical Care, and Helen Reeves, Clinical Lead for Community Palliative Care. They talked about the running of the Compassus Centre at the hospice – which is named after the Latin word meaning ‘a deep awareness of other people’s suffering coupled with the wish to relieve it’.
It is this part of the hospice which cares for terminally-ill patients, but also for patients who need help with rehabilitation and respite so they can be discharged and go home.
Katie and Helen walked us around this state-of-the-art care centre and, despite it being a place for end-of-life care, it was nothing like a hospital. The private rooms and the beautiful communal terrace and gardens made it feel like an uplifting place to be, while the designated room for family members to spend the night makes it feel more welcoming for everyone.
The next part of the visit introduced the team to a completely different aspect of the hospice, when they met Community Engagement Officer Ian Leech. Here our team learnt about how the charity helps those suffering the loss of a loved one, as death doesn’t just affect one person – it impacts on the lives of their family and friends.
The hospice offers a support service at their Bereavement Help Points across the catchment area, and has also set up Phoenix at St Giles, which offers support to young people suffering bereavement.
Another important task of the Community Engagement Team is to get people thinking and talking more openly about death. This was tested on our team when Ian asked what their funeral song would be and what they want to be remembered for. It is the work of Ian and his team which also raises awareness, with their participation in national campaigns such as Dying Matters Week.
The final instalment of the visit was meeting the Day Hospice Manager, Jayne Tooth. She showed us all of the wonderful things that the hospice does to care for its day patients who need care and support, but not full-time treatment.
This part of the tour talked us through the help that is available to patients who visit the hospice on a weekly basis and how the hospice provides additional medical support and gives carers some respite.
The tour made us even more proud to be working with St Giles Hospice and helped us realise how much the charity touches people’s lives. The visit was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the work our client does by witnessing it first-hand in their very own environment.
Thanks to everyone at St Giles for having us!