Kings House Day Hospice in Honiton opened to the public in March 2015 after a fund-raising appeal that raised £275,000.
Day Hospices offer a wide range of specialised therapies and activities as well as mutual support for patients and carers. At the heart of Kings House is a large, multi-purpose comfortable and flexible lounge. There is also a quiet room for contemplation or conversation, an education room, a consultation and therapy treatment room plus an assisted bathroom with therapeutic mood lighting and water massage. Hospiscare specialist nurses previously based at the town’s hospital are now enjoying a spacious new office at Kings House and Hospiscare day care services previously provided in Seaton have also transferred to the new centre.
East Devon Community Nurse, Angela Phillips, has worked for Hospiscare for more than 21 years. She kindly agreed to answer some questions for us about the Day Hospice but if you would like more specific information please email Angela at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call in at the centre.
“How are patients referred to Kings House?” (i.e. is it only through the GP/consultant/carer etc.)
Patients would access the services at Kings House, generally via a referral from our Community Palliative Clinical Nurse Specialist nurses.
“Can patients refer themselves and if so how do they make contact?”
Any professional can refer to Hospiscare, and we do occasionally receive self-referrals from patients or carers. In this case, we would always request that their GP does a referral as appropriate.
“How large an area of East Devon do you cover?”
The area that we cover as an East Devon Team, is Ottery St Mary, Honiton, Axminster and Seaton (the boundaries are defined by which GP practice the patient is registered with), and I am the Cluster Team Leader for this area. At the weekends, we alternate cover with the Coastal Team of Budleigh, and Exmouth, to provide a Community service, offering telephone support, and visits as required. One Community nurse covers at the weekend. Day Care patients attend from mainly East Devon, and Sidmouth, and at present we offer two days traditional day-care, at Kings House. Each patient referred can attend on either a Tuesday or a Thursday.
“What type of therapy sessions are on offer and how frequently can they be accessed?”
The complimentary therapy service has just been under review, and we no longer offer therapies in the home, unless there is a high clinical need, i.e. house bound, or bed bound patients; in which case the Clinical nurse manager can request this. We have just started offering complimentary therapies on a booked basis, to our patients and their carers here at Kings House. The therapies offered are massage, reflexology, and relaxation techniques, and the frequency is according to need and mutual agreement between therapist and patient. A limited number of free therapies are offered (normally x 4).
“Are there opportunities to talk with someone one-to-one about psychological as well as physiological concerns?”
There are lots of opportunities to talk to someone about psychological, as well as physiological concerns. All of our Clinical Nurse Specialists have undertaken advanced communication training, and visit patients as required, in their own homes, and now that we have the Kings house facility, patients can book to come in and see one of our nurses, to discuss any concerns. We are also able to access the service of our Hospiscare minister Nigel Mason, who is based at the Hospice in Exeter, but is able to visit into the Community.
“How can volunteers get involved and what expertise are you primarily looking for?”
Volunteers can get involved in numerous ways: supporting patients in their own homes, sitting befriending, shopping, transport to hospital appointments, reception, day-care, shops. We are also just about to commence training for a new “Care Navigator” role, which will be volunteers who will work alongside a patient and their family from referral through into bereavement. These volunteers will have some knowledge around “navigating” the healthcare system.
Car transport is managed on a volunteer basis and patients give a donation towards this service.