Busting Myths about St Gemma’s Hospice

We hear a lot of myths about St Gemma’s or hospice care in general. Common misconceptions out there include ‘I bet it’s a scary place’, ‘you have to have private health insurance’, or even ‘they only care for Catholics!’

Thankfully, we are pleased to say that all of the above are not true. And our new Myth Busting campaign will hopefully address some of these misconceptions and rumours over the coming year.

An important part of our work is to ensure that the community understands what we do, who we care for, how you can access our services and how we are funded. So we are tackling some of the misconceptions out there head-on, and will work hard to spread the ‘truths’ about St Gemma’s and the amazing work we do.

Click on the myths below to view the reality!

Reality: End of life care is only a really small part of the work we do here at St Gemma’s Hospice. Almost half of our In-Patients come to the Hospice for expert pain relief or symptom control and then they return home. We also care for hundreds of patients each year via a range of Day Services and clinics, all aimed at supporting patients with their individual needs.

Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to support the patient and address their needs.

Day Hospice Services
Staff and patient in garden
Patient being served aft tea on patio

Reality: St Gemma’s provides care for anyone in the local community regardless of religion, race or cultural background. We do offer spiritual and pastoral care for any of our patients, if they would like it.  Many hospices were started by religious organisations, in St Gemma’s case we were originally founded in 1978 by The Sisters of the Cross and Passion, some of whom are still involved with the Hospice today. However, we have always valued the different cultures, faiths and life experiences of every individual and we do our best to meet their needs.

Reality: St Gemma’s provides expert care to anyone over the age of 18 years old who has had a diagnosis of a non-curable, life limiting illness. Our patients vary in age. We also support patients’ families including their children and have a bereavement team who are specialists in dealing with children and young people.

Reality: Although a lot of our patients are living with cancer, this is not the only illness we care for. We look after patients who have had any diagnosis of a non-curable, life-limiting illness including, but not restricted to: respiratory disorders, heart disease, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, and other neurological problems. The team is used to dealing with a wide range of illness including more complex and rare cases.

Reality: Last year, most of our patients were cared for in their own home by one of St Gemma’s Community Nurse Specialists. Our community team, which also includes Doctors and therapists, collectively made thousands of visits to patients who wished to remain at home for as long as possible.  Our Hospice building in Moortown has an In-Patient Unit and a range of clinics for day patients, but most of our care is delivered in people’s homes across the community.

Community Nurse at Patient's Home
Community Nurse at front door
Nurse advising patient at home

Reality: St Gemma’s Hospice does receive some funding from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) but this only covers a portion of our annual running costs. Last year, our CCG funding lasted from January 1st to April 13th.  Every day after that was funded solely through the generosity of our supporters. This year, and every year, we strive to raise the remaining amount to enable us to deliver our range of services, totally free to those who need us.

This year we must raise over £6 million to meet the ongoing running costs of the Hospice. We only do this thanks to our generous and amazing community who make donations, attend events, shop in our charity shops and support our fundraising campaigns.

Myth Busting Charity Shops Stat

From doing sponsored runs and setting up workplace challenges to taking part in our big events and shopping in our charity shops, our community of supporters do incredible things to help the Hospice raise money for patient care.

St Gemma's Supporter Cheque Handover
Creative Emporium Fundraising For St Gemma's
St Gemma's Charity Shop

Reality: Hospice or palliative care is totally free for patients and their carers, family members and friends. You do not need health insurance to be cared for by St Gemma’s. St Gemma’s is a local charity, so we raise the funds from the community to enable us to offer our services, at no cost, to the people of Leeds.

Reality: Most people who visit St Gemma’s comment how friendly, welcoming, bright and upbeat it is. If you visit our Hospice you will find that is generally a very happy place, with a warm and relaxing atmosphere and staff and volunteers who are caring, knowledgeable and genuine.

We provide a homely, safe environment to support patients and their visitors at what is a stressful and demanding time.

Myth Busting Patient Quote - Hospice Opinion
St Gemma's Hospice Reception
Hospice Gardens in the Snow
St Gemma's Hospice Vacancies
St Gemma's Hospice Jobs

Reality: Most of our patients are referred to us by Leeds’ GPs or hospitals. St Gemma’s mainly cares for patients from across the east of the city. However, we regularly work with other hospices in the city or elsewhere in the UK if a patient has a particular preference about where they are cared for.

Sometimes patients choose to go to a hospice closer to their family or where they have an existing connection. We recently travelled with a patient back to Scotland, for example, as he wished to spend his final weeks closer to his family.

Reality: Referrals are made by a patient’s GP, hospital doctor or Clinical Nurse Specialist, district nurse or the hospital palliative care team. You can find more information about referrals on our website or call us any time for advice.

Patient Referrals