Saint Francis Hospice marks 20 years of its Hospice at Home service

Julie Bull, Caron Sharp, Sandra Hammond, Simone Sims, Donna Roach and Dawn Chaplin of the Hospice at

Julie Bull, Caron Sharp, Sandra Hammond, Simone Sims, Donna Roach and Dawn Chaplin of the Hospice at Home team. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

Over the past 20 years, Saint Francis’ Hospice at Home service has cared for more than 9,000 people and touched the lives of so many families and loved ones.

This month, the specialist service offering people the choice of spending their final days at home with their loved ones by their side, proudly celebrates its 20th anniversary.

“From small yet generous beginnings, we have grown a team that is just one of the outstanding care services our hospice provides,” said Tes Smith, director of quality and care.

“Come rain or shine, our nurses are always there for our patients with such commitment and professionalism.

“I’m in awe of all they achieve for people in our community.”

The pioneering project was made possible by the generous legacy of lifelong supporter Margaret Helen Markus who left £400,000 to the Havering-atte-Bower hospice in her will. The home service was initially funded and piloted for three years.

Since then, the Hospice at Home team has continued to grow and develop, providing hands-on practical nursing, care and social support on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year.

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In October 2016 it expanded the service area to cover Redbridge. This was following a long desire to be able to give the people of Redbridge the same level of service others had across the area. And to date, it has cared for more than 9,000 people in their homes across all its catchment areas of Havering, Brentwood, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and West Essex.

Julie White has been part of the team since the beginning, and she still remains as enthusiastic as she was two decades ago.

“I still relish in learning the latest methods of care,” said Julie, who has seen many changes over the years, from expanding the area we cover - to the changes in uniforms.

But what has always remained the same is the dedicated care and support patients are given.

“The patient is our priority, but we look after the whole family,” said Julie.

“Many families have never experienced caring for someone who is dying, so they may struggle.

“It’s a privilege to support them during this very precious time.”

You can help secure the status of Hospice at Home by supporting Saint Francis’ urgent Covid-19 appeal.