Hospice sets out to combat loneliness and social isolation
North London-based St John’s Hospice is calling for support from the public to help them combat loneliness and social isolation experienced by people living with life-limiting illnesses and their carers in their community.
Loneliness and social isolation can deeply affect people’s physical and mental health and have a significant impact on their quality of life. Sadly, for those living with a chronic or life-limiting illness and their carers, the effects can be even greater.
They might find themselves shut off from their community due to a new diagnosis or worsening of their condition, feel like others will not be able to relate to their situation and in some cases, feel like they have nothing left to live for. A joint study by Hospice UK, Sue Ryder and Marie Curie shows that up to 50% of carers die earlier due to stress and mental health-related issues.
At a time when government funding to hospices is contracting, and the need for their services is increasing, St John’s Hospice has launched an appeal to raise vital funds to expand their community outreach. In doing so, the hospice will be able to better support their current patients and their carers, as well as reach many more people in their community who need their support.
They will be able to provide more community nursing hours and Hospice@Home assistance, enabling patients to receive high-quality medical care in their own homes as well as providing support and respite for family carers. They will be able to increase visits from social workers who can provide emotional and practical support as well as launch counselling sessions and therapies at home. These visits can also provide companionship and ensure that patients and their carers do not feel alone in their situation or isolated from their community.
It will also allow the hospice to scale up their free ambulance service which safely transports patients to and from the hospice and the services available there, ensuring that they do not become cut off from the community especially as the darker and colder winter months set in.
Speaking of the need to rapidly expand their community outreach, Dr Najia Shah, who is the Lead Community Palliative Care Consultant at St John’s Hospice said: “I often see referrals for patients who have ‘fallen through the gaps’ and have become shut off from their community, left feeling isolated, depressed, and unsupported.
“Their carers and family members have been left feeling guilty, lonely, and disempowered as their caring responsibilities have increased, and as they struggle to cope with the decline in health or death of their loved one.
“For them, our community services can be a lifeline which is why I am asking you to please support our hospice’s Winter Appeal so that we can continue to expand our services and ensure that no one in our community is left feeling this way.”
A donation of £35 could fund an at-home visit from one of the hospice’s community nurses who can provide pain and symptom management as well as emotional and practical support to patients and their carers.
To support the hospice’s Winter Appeal, please donate via their website www.stjohnshospice.org.uk/donate. Alternatively, get in touch with the St John’s Hospice Fundraising Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7806 4011.
Notes to the Editor:
About St John’s Hospice
St John’s Hospice provides quality, holistic care to people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families. We celebrate and amplify life, enabling people to live well for as long as possible. We create moments of joy and compassion both inside and outside of our hospice and work to ensure that each of our patients and their families are supported through every aspect of their journey.
As well as our Inpatient and Day Care Unit located in St John’s Wood, we work out in the community, in people’s homes, providing care to 4,500 people every year across North London.
Our services are provided free of charge and include community care, Hospice@Home, day services, inpatient care, social and welfare support, therapies and bereavement support.
Registered charity number: 235822.
LinkedIn: St John’s Hospice | London
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