94-102 High Street, Hampton Hill, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 1NY
Telephone: 020 8977 0043
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Palliative care is support for patients and families of patients who have life-limiting illnesses. The emphasis is on affirming life, alleviating suffering, managing symptoms, while also regarding dying as a normal process.
If someone is under “palliative care” it does not mean we give up on them, rather we always strive to ensure they are as healthy and well as can be, even if that means they may be sent to hospital sometimes if there is something that will help them to remain well for longer.
Early referral to the palliative care team can help people and their families to feel supported, to have access to advice and help in navigating the journey ahead, before they reach a crisis.
Princess Alice Hospice is a local charity, we were founded more than 30 years ago by local residents, to support people within the area.
We now serve an area of 600 square miles, from Hounslow in the north, down to Dorking in the south, from borders of Woking in the west, to Barnes, Worcester Park and Tadworth in the east.
There is a population of 1 million in the area, we tend to have about 800-1000 people on our caseload at any time.
We have 300 paid staff, and thankfully, 1200 volunteers to support us in our work.
It costs > £10 million a year to fund our care.
Compassion and dedication from staff is free.
We receive referrals from GPs, and hospitals.
Once a referral is received, we triage the referral to ensure the person has consented to our support, and to identify any urgent needs.
One of our community Clinical Nurse Specialists is allocated a patient based on GP surgery and goes out to meet the person and their family, to assess any immediate needs, and to get to know them better, what is important to them and their families, and we introduce our service to them.
Most care is given in people’s homes.
Much of our work is in helping to manage any complex symptoms, such as pain, breathlessness, nausea, and general distress. We work closely with local GPs, District Nurses, Care agencies/ Social services to try to meet peoples’ needs at home.
Sometimes patients do need to come to the Hospice as inpatients. We sadly do not offer respite care anymore, as our population has grown and needs are great, but we do offer beds, if available, for one of two reasons – for care at the end of life, over a couple of weeks, especially if symptoms are difficult, or families are struggling particularly, and we also offer short admissions for severe symptoms that have been challenging to manage in the home setting.
Our admissions team meets on weekdays to evaluate which patients are on our admissions list and whether we have any beds available. If admission is not possible, we will try to keep someone as safe and comfortable at home, as is possible, but sometimes going to hospital or a nursing home might be necessary.
As people draw nearer to the end of their lives, we tend to see that they may become more sleepy, less able to do things for themselves, and less interested in eating or drinking. We would try to ensure they have the care they need by referring them to local providers, and that any symptoms are managed.
We would “hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst”
We celebrate when people are well and support them when they are less well.
As people become less well, we support their families more and more, and after death, support for families continues, with a call from our bereavement support team after a few months, and we offer all kinds of support to suit individuals, from an early bereavement cafe, monthly bereavement groups, closed bereavement support groups, and a walk and talk in Bushy Park group.
Please do come along to see your local hospice, for a cup of tea or coffee (served by volunteers), and a walk around our beautiful gardens (maintained by our lovely volunteers, of course!)