Dorothy House Hospice Care helps 1,500 families affected by cancer, motor neurone disease and other life-limiting conditions. Patients are looked after from a wide geographical area- Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) and parts of Wiltshire and Somerset.
Dorothy House is the only charity providing free specialist nursing care at home for people with life-limiting illness in the area.
Most of our patients are looked after in their own homes, but short-term care, out-patient and day patient services are provided at the hospice in Winsley, near Bath and may also take place in our Outreach centres. To make sure patients have the best quality of life possible, pain and symptom relief, respite for carers, emotional and spiritual support and day care are all provided free of charge.
Such a comprehensive service is costly and Dorothy House Hospice Care receives about 23 per cent of its funding from the NHS. This year, after NHS funding, £3million is needed to provide services at the current level.
The hospice depends on the generosity of local people to continue to provide its services at their current level, and income from legacies is crucially important to us.
If you are thinking of leaving a gift to Dorothy House in your will and would like to discuss it, please contact Gill Cannon on 01225 721480 or email her directly by clicking here.
Caring now will count tomorrow
The award-winning new build at Dorothy House is an outstanding example of the importance of legacy income to the development of the hospice.
The two new wings; one providing out-patient facilities, family and children's rooms and the stunning chapel, the other housing the education department cost £2.4 million to build. The money was partly raised through a private appeal to local businesses, trusts and grant-making bodies, but the initial kick start to the Space to Care appeal came from legacies totalling £650,000. As the project neared completion, legacy income was once again brought into play, in total more than £1 million was contributed from legacy income.
Legacies are also put to excellent use in funding smaller scale projects and specific areas of hospice care, including:
£1,000 paid for a week of physiotherapy sessions for patients.
£2,400 bought two recliner chairs for the Day Patient Unit.
£10,000 paid for 400 extra hours of care from the Hospice at Home service. This service provides nursing care to support patients and their families in their own homes.
£25,700 met the cost of caring for eight patients during their stay in the In-Patient at Winsley.
Brian Roberts-Wray, a trustee of Dorothy House, has a particular interest in legacies. Here he explains how this came about.
About seven years ago I was asked to become a trustee because they wanted someone on the Dorothy House board who had experience of fundraising. I fitted the bill.
Then, about a year later, my wife Jesmarie developed breast cancer. She had surgery, followed by both chemotherapy and radiotherapy to prevent the cancer from spreading. Unfortunately her cancer turned out to be very aggressive and within 12 months it had spread to her spine, leaving her in constant severe pain.
At that point Dorothy House stepped in and from then on they were always a crucial part of what ever treatment she was having. In fact, on three separate occasions she spent a week as an in-patient in the hospice, and each time she came out with the pain under control.
We also had weekly visits at home from one of the Dorothy House Nurse Specialists, who was not only expert in pain control, but had this wonderful knack of making both of us feel much better when she left than we had an hour earlier when she arrived.
That is one of the marvellous things about Dorothy House, it's not just the patient who is cared for, but the carer and family as well. And they tackle not just physical symptoms, but help with emotional and spiritual pain as well.
We had this support for nearly two years. But sadly, there was nothing which could reverse the course of Jesmarie's cancer, and her condition got worse. One weekend I knew I was out of my depth and was no longer able to care for her effectively. Even though it was Saturday morning, I phoned Dorothy House and they immediately arranged for a nurse to come in and care for Jesmarie overnight. That was a mighty relief and continued every night until she died a few days later.
The following few days were very tough, but again Dorothy House came to the rescue, and used to call me several times a day to see whether I needed advice or extra help.
It was at that stage that I realised that without Dorothy House I just could not have coped with what we had gone through over the past two years. And I suppose it was part of my coping with grief that made me want to do something special for Dorothy House to show my appreciation. As a widower I knew I had to make a new will. Within a week, I had made an appointment with my solicitor and taken real pleasure in including a bequest to Dorothy House. As a trustee of course I knew how reliant Dorothy House is on legacies in order to continue its work.
Even though it is more than three years since Jesmarie died, it is still quite painful to talk about it. But if my experience can prompt other people to remember Dorothy House in their wills, it will have been infinitely worthwhile.