Hello, my name is Clare and I’m a member of the Community Team at St Gemma’s Hospice. We care for adults in Leeds who have life-limiting illnesses, and we also support their families.
The Hospice isn’t just a building with an In-Patient Unit. Most of St Gemma’s patients are supported in the place they want to stay during their illness – their own home – so the majority of our services are delivered in the community. We go out and about every day, travelling from the city centre to suburbs and villages to visit patients wherever they live. Everyone we see is an individual person first and a patient second. Our care is based on a simple idea: that the person is more than the illness. Each of us – sick or well – has unique physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Each member of the team has specialist knowledge of what may help, from practical arrangements and specialist equipment to the most effective medication. We can also help family members learn useful techniques to ease their loved one’s symptoms. The expertise of the wider Hospice team is invaluable. If necessary we can arrange for a doctor, therapist or social worker to join us on a home visit, or at our out-patients department.
We can’t take all the sadness away from a situation, but we can use our skills and experience to help. Even when someone is approaching the end of their life there’s always something you can do – it’s the ‘living’ that’s important. We’re alongside them and their family.
Over the course of a typical year, our team will make more than 5,000 visits to care for people at home.
Each patient might see their St Gemma’s nurse for a few hours, several days, or perhaps weeks or months, depending on the extent of their illness and their particular needs. We take time to listen to each patient, acknowledge their situation, find out what concerns they have, and support them with information and guidance. We explore what’s most important to them and work together to help them live as well as possible for as long as possible.
Kindness and compassion always go hand in hand with the clinical expertise we provide.
One of the best things in my job is meeting brilliant people. It’s humbling to see how much people do for their loved ones in difficult and often distressing situations. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to support people in a way that’s right for them at a critical time. I’m proud to be part of such a valuable resource for our local community.
All our services are delivered completely free of charge and people tell me every day how grateful they are for this support to be available. In turn, we’re grateful for the support our community provides to make this possible. St Gemma’s is a local, independent charity and our daily running costs rely on the generous support of the people of Leeds.
On behalf of everyone in the Community Team at St Gemma’s, thank you so much for your amazing help.