Voluntary hospice care for cancer sufferers is crucial but is in need of our help.
How an individual reacts to and copes with such unwelcome news will clearly vary according to many variable factors including their personal situation, age, beliefs and family circumstances.
What they are able to do with the time remaining to them and how meaningful or stressful it will be can likewise vary greatly.
In recent years of increasing significance has been the recognition of the importance that high-quality palliative care can provide to people with life threatening illnesses, their families and carers.
More and more it is realised that crucial support can be given to patients and their families to better understand and come to terms with their illness. That vital medical help can be given towards pain control and condition management. That important practical help through the provision of specialist equipment can ease the everyday demands and pressures that a life-threatening illness can make for patients and their families.
Of growing impact on palliative care facilities has been the voluntary hospice movement.
Markedly growing in their contribution to local palliative healthcare provision, voluntary hospices stress the dignity and value of all human life and seek to improve the quality of it for all life-threatening illness sufferers and their families. Rather than dwell on the prospect of death, hospices celebrate the joy of life. In Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan the major provider of specialist, high-quality and home-based palliative support is George Thomas Hospice Care.
I became familiar with this organisation after the Welsh Woman of the Year Awards last November when the chief executive Margaret Pritchard was recognised for her work and key contribution to the community.
This local hospice was established in 1984 with one palliative care nurse and very limited facilities by a group of dedicated individuals following the lead of Dame Cicely Saunders, the accepted founder of the hospice movement.
Since then George Thomas Hospice Care has grown to a position where its clinical team of nurses, social workers and occupational therapists care for up to 1,000 patients and support their families each year.
The varied composition of the George Thomas Hospice Care clinical team recognises that a holistic approach to treatment is needed that not only provides home-based specialist nursing, but also expert guidance on a wide range of other issues that patients and their families need.
The complexities of modern life require a range of responses by George Thomas Hospice Care to help people at a most difficult period in their lives.
Over the years since its establishment, and in seeking to meet the increasing demand for its services, George Thomas Hospice Care has developed in the service it has provided making a significant contribution to local healthcare provision.
A recent high-point of this growth was the opening in July 2005, by its patron HRH The Prince of Wales, of T George Thomas, its new purpose-designed hospice centre. Situated in the grounds of Whitchurch Hospital, T George Thomas represents a watershed in local palliative care provision.
It was established through grants from the Wales Assembly Government, Big Lottery Fund and the special T George Appeal strongly supported by the South Wales Echo.
Ty George Thomas offers a specially designed fit-for-purpose base for George Thomas Hospice Care to develop its service for the benefit of the local community and vulnerable members within it.
It seeks to develop at T George Thomas a 'centre of excellence' for the application and study of palliative care that includes its home-based nursing, day care support activities for those patients able to attend, loan of equipment and education and training programmes for healthcare professionals and medical and nursing students.
The beneficiaries of all of this are patients and their families and carers for whom high-quality palliative care is so important. It also enables patients to delay their admittance to hospital or be released earlier than they otherwise would be, relieving pressure on scarce healthcare facilities.
Such essential palliative care is costly and in providing its support service to cover one sixth of the Welsh population, George Thomas Hospice Care is faced with a yearly bill of around pounds 1m - shockingly 80% of which it has to fundraise itself.
This essential link in our healthcare provision needs both financial and practical support. My fellow Welsh Woman category winner Lynfa Phillips and I have pledged to offer our support and we would encourage others to join us to ensure this provision continues to meet the needs of our community.
Don't miss the Light Up a Life Appeal launch at Queens Arcade, Cardiff, next Thursday November 9 from 5.15pm-6pm. Bob Humphreys will light the Christmas tree.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Nov 3, 2006|
|Previous Article:||Kenneth Griffith was fearless and no one else dared to say what he said in the precise way he said it.|
|Next Article:||MORNING SERIAL.|