Like many people I can’t help but ask myself where this year has gone. The success of City Hospice is purely because of the goodwill and support we’ve received from the community, and so it’s important to look back over the last 12 months, to celebrate everything that we have achieved but also to thank all of the special people who make our work possible.
Securing the palliative care contract for the whole of Cardiff
At the beginning of the year, we secured the contract from Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust to deliver community palliative care to the whole of Cardiff. Many people will be unaware that different charities deliver community palliative care in different areas of the country, and we are proud to work alongside these other exceptional charities. For example, in neighbouring areas, Marie Curie deliver community palliative care to the Vale of Glamorgan and St David’s Hospice to the people of Newport and surrounding areas. Securing the contract for the whole of Cardiff means that we can provide our exemplary care to every person in the City at the end of their lives and provide essential counselling and support for their families.
Carrying out our service to the highest standard can be costly, however, our supporters enable us to offer our services to people when they need it most. Our supporters; donate money, shop at our charity shops, take part in our events, organise their own events and take on the most amazing challenges because they believe in what we do. I would like to offer my thanks to the wonderful people who volunteer for the charity, they give their time, skills and energy to make a difference, and we couldn’t do it without them.
“We are not a bedded unit”
City Hospice is not a bedded unit, however, we do provide some support services at our centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff, and for those too unwell to visit us here, we provide care in their own homes. We spend time talking to patients and families about the preferences of those we care for and where they wish to stay, and we work with them to support this choice. And when you consider this, it makes perfect sense, as given the choice many of us would choose to remain at home if we were terribly ill too.
90 new patients a month referred to City Hospice
“Each patient is an individual”
Every month around 90 new patients are referred to City Hospice for care and support. Providing nursing, medical and end of life care to those with a life-limiting illness is still a huge part of what we do, although our patient focus means that we also take a holistic approach to their wellbeing. Each patient is an individual; they are seen usually within a week by a consultant, along with a clinical nurse specialist. We provide care at Ty Hosbis, counselling, occupational therapy and advice on welfare rights. Patients can receive reflexology in our sensory room and we provide sessions called ‘Be Inspired’ on improving breathlessness and sessions on pain management too.
A new refurbishment, thanks to The Hodge Foundation
(Photo taken by Matthew Horwood)
To help us to provide care for our additional patients, this year we completed a full refurbishment of the ground floor of our centre. We are extremely grateful to The Hodge Foundation for the funds and support to enable this large scale project to happen. In September, Minister for Health and Social Services,Vaughan Gething AM, officially reopened the City Hospice ground floor. We were all thrilled when Mr Gething referred to City Hospice as ‘epitomising the standards of Palliative Care we should be achieving in Wales’. The event provided the opportunity to highlight our essential work in the community and celebrate the achievements of the charity.
Plans for a new IT suite
We also have plans to develop an IT suite, a place where patients can learn computer skills from shopping online to Skyping with friends and family. After all, how would any of us know how to use such resources unless we were shown how to do so? We also wish to create an area to appeal to our younger patients. The transition period for a young person moving from children’s services to adult services can be a traumatic one. We intend on creating a space where young adults can use the IT equipment adapted to their needs, where they can learn new skills, make new friends and have fun, in a supported environment.
Silver Gilt award winners at Wales in Bloom
This summer we were thrilled to win the Silver Gilt Award from Wales in Bloom for our stunning gardens. This tranquil area is full of nature and beauty, we are very lucky to have such wonderful grounds at City Hospice. Our volunteer gardeners are so attentive to this space, and have created an area which patients, carers, fellow volunteers and visitors can enjoy.
A Christmas visit from HRH The Prince of Wales
(Photo taken by Matthew Horwood)
Christmas came early at City Hospice on 7th December, when our Patron HRH The Prince of Wales visited us to meet patients and their families. He spent considerable time talking to everyone he met, learning more about our counselling services, hypnotherapy, reflexology and occupational therapy. Our Occupational Therapist, Rachel Roberts, was presented with an award for collaborative working between City Hospice and the NHS.
His Royal Highness was also presented with two hand decorated Christmas Baubles by children, Lara and Connor Foster. During City Hospice’s Light up a Life season, we share stories of the charity’s essential work and raise funds so that we can care for terminally ill people and their families throughout Cardiff.
Light Up a Life 2018
(Photo taken by Matthew Horwood)
Lara and Connor are two very brave and special children. Their Dad, Tony, was diagnosed with cancer and in 2017 and the family were referred to City Hospice for support. In their Light up a Life story, Luan, Tony’s wife and the children talk about the precious time they spent together with Tony, their family film nights and the Memory Boxes they all made to help remember the good times they had with their Dad.
And that’s what we do at City Hospice, we take all of the efforts of our supporters and the money that they raise, and we ensure that those in our care can live the fullest life possible for as long as possible. And I guess on the run up to Christmas, when we’re all looking forward to spending time with our families, this story is all the more poignant.
My new role as Chief Executive
My own City Hospice story started in June of this year, when my predecessor Mike Walsh retired as CEO, passing on the role to me. The role of CEO is a considerable responsibility and an immense privilege. At City Hospice I have the opportunity to see the hard work and efforts of supporters, donors, volunteers and staff, turned into ensuring that our patients and their families receive the best care possible.
Our patients and their families are faced with the most difficult of times. We care for Cardiff’s families, so that our patients can live the best quality of life and create lasting memories for their loved ones.
Thank you for supporting this exceptional charity and making all of our work possible.
Wishing all of our supporters a very Merry Christmas.