Hospice’s joy as new centre opens doors



STAFF, patients and volunteers at St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester have welcomed the opening of its near-£1million Snowdrops Community Care Centre.

The new wing to the charity’s Wildwood Drive headquarters was funded by a £600,000 grant from the Department of Health and donations, and will allow staff to support extra patients in the community, as well more carers and family members.

St Richard’s chief executive Mark Jackson said: “It’s fantastic to open this building which will help us care for more people in the community.

“We are very grateful to all those who donated to make this possible.”

Plans for the new centre include expanding and developing group work and offering nurse-led and joint clinics with other specialists.

It will allow the family support team to increase pre-death support to patients and families, hold more meetings and drop-in sessions and increase bereavement support.

A carers’ project will also expand to help far greater numbers of people across the community.

Peter Anderson, of Ombersley, trained to be a group leader and family support worker at St Richard’s after his wife Katy and the family received support from the charity when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004.

The mother-of-two was given three months to live, but after undergoing radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other treatment, she lived for another four years.

As soon as Mrs Anderson was diagnosed, Mr Anderson, aged 59, got in touch with St Richard’s and for the whole of her illness she was supported, mainly at home, by St Richard’s nurse specialist Joy Cadwallader.

Mrs Anderson was one of the first patients to go into the new St Richard’s in-patient unit before she died and was cared for there for about a month.

Mr Anderson said the medical care by the hospice staff was “fantastic” and could not be faulted, and emphasised how St Richard’s offers support to the whole family and not just the patient.

“Joy was Katy’s nurse and confidante but I could phone her at any time to talk through anything,” he said.

“The medical care is fantastic but the hospice is so much more than that.

“They are very active with the whole family before the loved one dies and also very often for a long time afterwards.

“We’ve had support for seven years and it has been magnificent, and enabled us to cope with the pressures and emotions that we faced.

“It was a very difficult time for the whole family but we came to a group for about a year before Katy died and had individual as well as family and group counselling.

“What we and most people want is to be open and talk and at St Richard’s they make it a safe haven to do that.”