This Hospice Care Week I want to raise awareness of the vital work and services St Ann’s Hospice provides to so many people across many of the Greater Manchester communities.
I qualified as a Nurse in 2000 and have worked in many hospices and hospitals across Greater Manchester. Since 2011 I have been a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care and joined the St Ann’s team as a trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) in 2020 during the pandemic – which was quite the baptism of fire! I completed the two-year accelerated master’s programme and qualified as an ACP this year.
Often people say they don’t know how I do this job, but simply by helping and being there for people, that keeps me going. There is so much positive feedback from staff and families that you support, so it really makes my job worthwhile.
I want this Hospice Care Week to change people’s perceptions of hospices and debunk many of the myths around them. People are terrified of us because of the old-fashioned idea that people come here to die and that we only pave the way for this to take place. But that is not the reality at all. Damian Lacey, Advanced Clinical Practitioner
Treatments have improved with people living much longer and fuller lives with their illnesses. A lot of people come to us for symptom control to be able to live with their illness, which is why it is so important to stress that hospices are about alleviating suffering for people.
St Ann’s works to provide not just medical plans but also non-pharmacological ways to manage life, by providing practical support to access better equipment at home and educating patients and families that we support. We provide talking therapies and complementary therapies as well as outpatient care in the form of our Being You Centre.
Hospices are so much more than just advising on medicines to patients!
Getting this message across to the wider public is so important in changing people’s thought processes around hospices and what they are used for. St Ann’s is a great vehicle for change to support people with care planning and are vital providers of education for professionals caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones.
It is also so significant to de-medicalise death. We’ve become so frightened to talk about the end of our lives, but opening conversations to turn dying not necessarily into a negative thing should be prioritised. Death should not be viewed as dark and full of terror; we should stop hiding away from it so we can prepare ourselves through supporting one another.
Hospice Care Week highlights the importance of providing the best environment possible to care for and support patients in. St Ann’s Hospice’s building in Heald Green has outlived its purpose and we are so excited for the new building so that we can better connect to outdoor spaces and improve the care of all our patients.
St Ann’s Build It Together campaign is raising the final £2 million that we need to build our brand new hospice in Heald Green, replacing our current Victorian building which is in urgent need of replacement as it needs continual and costly repairs.
This will see our current hospice in Heald Green replaced with a purpose-built facility costing over £22m in total, with larger landscaped grounds and many improvements, including 21 individual en-suite private bedrooms.
The campaign, which launched in June, has already raised £420,000 and we are urging people across Greater Manchester to get involved.