Palliative Care is the care of patients with a life threatening illness. It aims to control pain, alleviate symptoms and enable the patient to have the best possible quality of life.
2. What is different about the hospice approach?
We are able to offer a high quality of care to patients, their families and carers. We have the time to give attention to individual needs and the expertise to offer specialist services.
We help patients and their families to make the most of living in the time that is left.
We bring an open, honest and sensitive approach to death and dying.
We work as part of a team with GP's, District Nurses and hospital staff and educate others to give high standards of care throughout the health service.
We offer emotional and spiritual support to families and carers before and after bereavement.
3. How much does Dorothy House charge for its services?
All our services are provided free of charge.
4. What types of illness does Dorothy House provide care for?
We provide care for patients with any condition which is life threatening. Over 90% of our patients have cancer, but we also help patients with motor neurone disease and other neurological conditions, heart and lung disease and AIDS.
5. Does Dorothy House only help people who are dying?
We can provide care and advice from diagnosis to the final stages of a life threatening illness.
6. Are there doctors at Dorothy House?
We have three consultant physicians, who work in the hospice, with community hospitals and nursing homes. They work closely with the primary health care team and may conduct home visits where appropriate.
7. How can I get referred to Dorothy House?
Patients can be referred to Dorothy House either by their GP, Community/District Nurse or by hospital staff. It is important that whoever makes the referral has the GP's agreement.
8. How long will I be able to stay in the Dorothy House In-Patient Unit?
Each patient's needs are assessed on an individual basis, the average length of stay is 7 days and the majority of patients return home to continue living as normal a life as possible
9. Are you able to do home visits at short notice?
When reqested by the GP or District Nurse the Dorothy House Nurse Specialist can visit during normal working hours.
10. Where can I get advice and support at any time about pain relief, symptoms or anything else to do with my illness?
The Dorothy House 24-hour Helpline offers advice from nursing and medical staff and support to patients, families and carers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number to ring is 01225 722999.
11. How can Dorothy House help patients who are being cared for at home?
For many of our patients it is really important to them to stay At Home wherever possible, so the majority of our services are carried out in the community, supporting patients, their carers and families.
12. What help can Dorothy House offer to families, friends and carers?
Coping with a life threatening illness can be a deeply stressful experience for the whole family. We offer Emotional and Spiritual Support to patients, their families and carers, both during the illness and following bereavement. A proportion of beds in the In-patient Unit are reserved for respite care. Day Care is also an opportunity for carers to take a much-needed break. Our Bereavement Service offers ongoing bereavement support where needed.
13. How can I get referred to Day Care?
Referral to Day Care is usually via the Dorothy House Nurse Specialists or the patient's GP. A member of our Day Care staff will then carry out a home visit to explain what is involved and carry out a more detailed assessment.
14. What is the difference between a Marie Curie Nurse and a Macmillan Nurse?
Marie Curie nurses are nurses who provide practical nursing care at night to patients with cancer, generally in the later stages of illness, to enable them to stay at home where possible.
Macmillan Nurses (or Nurse Specialists) are Registered Nurses with specialist training and knowledge of palliative care. They offer specialist advice and support to patients and their families and are able to help with adjustment to the changes which illness can bring.
15. What is the difference between a Nurse Specialist and a Macmillan Nurse?
Dorothy House Nurse Specialists were previously known as Macmillan Nurses and have an identical role. The name was changed for practical and financial reasons, as many donations intended for Dorothy House were made out to Macmillan Cancer Care, which does not fund this service in the area we serve.
16. What support is available for patients with cancer?
Support and Advice is available from a number of local and national groups and organisations. These range from small local self-help groups to helplines of national organisations
17. What financial help is available to people with life threatening illness?
There are a number of Welfare Benefits to which people with a life threatening illness may be entitled. These include Attendance Allowance (for people over the age of 65), Disability Living Allowance (for younger people) and others.
18. Can you advise me on what I should tell my children?
The Dorothy House Nurse Specialists and the Social Worker can give advice on how best to support children.
The particular needs of children are summarised in the following ten points:
Information - must be clear, truthful and age-appropriate.
Explanation - give honest answers
Adults to model on - children learn how to respond by modelling adult behaviour
Help to express feelings - through art, play, mementoes, music - and general involvement
Acceptance of feelings
Reassurance - for example, they are not responsible for the illness / death
Continuity - consistent quality of care, routines and boundaries
Help with secondary losses - such as new family situations, change of house or school
Support - from family, friends, school, professionals - especially someone to talk to
19. What support is available for children facing bereavement?
Children and young people may have particular needs following bereavement. We provide advice and support to parents and schools and hope to extend our service for children and young people pending a recent application for funding. Please contact the Dorothy House Social Worker for further information.
Cruse Bereavement Care offers free help and support to all bereaved people, including groups for children and young people.
20. Have you any other questions that have not been answered here?
Please phone 01225 722988 and someone will help with your query