Q. What is a Hospice?
A hospice is a specialist centre for supporting people with a life threatening illness – that is an illness that does not respond to curative treatment. Clinical Services provided include:
- Inpatient Service
- Well Being Service
- Medical Outpatients Service
- Therapy services, including Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Family Support, Complementary Therapy, Creative Therapy and Chaplaincy services
Hospices care for people with complicated needs. This may only be for a short time but enables them to live their days to the full and to be discharged back home if they wish.
Q. What does Palliative Care mean?
Palliative care is for patients with an advanced and progressive illness. This involves management of pain and other symptoms. It also provides valuable psychological, social and spiritual support.
The palliative care approach also includes support for family/carers. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families/carers.
Some parts of palliative care may be needed earlier in the course of illness e.g. at the same time as having other treatments. This may involve symptom/pain control etc.
Q. What is Supportive Care?
The aim of supportive care is to help patients and their families/carers cope with cancer and its treatment – from pre-diagnosis, diagnosis, treatment, cure, continuing illness, death and into bereavement.
Supportive care is important as it helps patients live life as well as possible with the physical and/or psychological effects of cancer and its treatments.
Q. Does it matter where I live?
We generally take referrals from within the St Helens and Knowsley area. If you are outside this area, it may be that there is another hospice closer to where you live. Please speak to the healthcare worker looking after you who should be able to give you advice and guidance
We provide services equally to people of any ethnic origin or background and will do our best to meet individual requirements.
There is a common belief that a hospice is where everyone goes to die. That is not true. The average stay in a hospice is ten to fourteen days, after which many patients return home.
Q. How are patients referred to Willowbrook?
Patients are referred to the hospice by their GP, Consultant or the healthcare worker looking after them e.g. District Nurse, if there are symptoms or problems relating to their illness with which we can help.
Q: Why might I be admitted to the Hospice?
The two main reasons would be for either:
- For symptom control, i.e. to ease pain, nausea or other problems that cannot be resolved in your own home
For terminal care – care in the last stages of an illness
- Of course there are other reasons you may be admitted from these two. Many of our patients are discharged from the Hospice to return to their home so not all patients die here.
Q. Who will look after me?
Both the Inpatient and Well Being units are staffed by a team of dedicated nursing and medical staff, specialising in Palliative Care, who also have access to a range of other qualified Allied Health professionals for example Occupational Therapist.
Q. Do patients only come to the hospice to die?
No. Many of our patients are admitted for a short period of time so that symptoms may be relieved. This will often enable patients to return home with follow-up support offered as needed for example by returning to Out Patient Clinic to see the doctor.
Q.Who does Willowbrook care for?
Willowbrook looks after people with cancer and other serious life limiting illnesses, such as Motor Neurone Disease, heart failure and chest diseases. Everyone is welcome at Willowbrook, whatever their race, religion or lifestyle.
Q: I have special dietary needs, who will see to that?
Our Catering team along with the nursing staff will be happy to talk over your menu with you.
Q. Do patients have to pay?
No. As an independent charitable hospice, we make no charge for any of our services.
Q. So how does Willowbrook receive its funding?
Approximately a third of our annual funding comes from the NHS via our local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The rest comes from generous donations from our local community, mainly from individuals, local businesses, trusts, schools, churches and other organisations, legacies as well as the efforts of the friends of Willowbrook, Fundraising Team, our shops and our Lottery.
Q. Does the hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
No. Our hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of child birth, the hospice provides its presence and specialised knowledge during the dying process.
Q. How does the hospice “manage pain”?
Our hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it can address however pain manifests itself. Hospice nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, other members of the specialist team can help with assisting patients to be as mobile and self sufficient as they wish. There are also staff trained in creative therapy, massage and complementary therapies. Spiritual care and support is available from the chaplaincy team.
Q. How long can I attend the Day Unit?
There is no set time. It depends on your individual needs, which we assess continually. Attendance is not long term and patients are usually discharged between 8 – 12 weeks.
Q. Is the hospice affiliated with any religious organisation?
No. While some churches and religious groups have started hospices (sometimes in connection with their hospitals), our hospice serves a broad community. We accept patients of any belief and we equally accept patients of no belief.
Q. Does the hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
Our hospice provides continuing contact and support for caregivers for up to a year following the death of a loved one. This is done through our dedicated Family Support Team.
We offer short-term support to partners, family (including young children and teenagers) and close friends, offering them help in coming to terms with their grief. Advice and help are also available to deal with social and financial issues.
If you have a question about the Hospice, which you think should be included in the above list, please email it to: Catherineh@willowbrookhospice.org.uk