Changing perceptions of the way that we die

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ST WILFRID’S Hospice has launched a new campaign it hopes will revolutionise the way end-of-life care is provided here in Eastbourne.

The hospice, soon to open its new building near Sussex Downs College, set out its ambitious plans at the Hydro Hotel last week in front of an audience of the charity’s supporters.

Based around the tag REACH, the new drive is as much about raising awareness as it is about generating cash.

The Herald has teamed up with the hospice to support the campaign and over the coming weeks will be carrying a series of features looking in-depth at each of the aims.

But for the time being, the basic premiss being REACH is: R: Responding to growing demand; E: Enabling people to stay at home; A: Addressing social and emotional needs; C: Collaborating and educating; H: Harnessing compassion in the community.

Hospice chief executive Cara Bishop outlined the objectives, saying the overall aim was to ‘change perceptions of the way we die’.

She added, “We think each and every life is precious and unique and every person deserves the best care as they reach the end of their life.

“Every week we hear heartbreaking stories about when things have not gone right at the end of life. We care for about 1,000 people a year but there are 3,000 a year more who have end of life needs, which is why we are building the new hospice. It will double our capacity.”

She also talked up the work the charity does, and will continue to do, with day care patients as well as the ongoing efforts to help people remain in their home if they want to.

One such person to see the benefits of that arm of the hospice is David Gale, whose mother was helped by St Wilfrid’s during her final days.

He said, “We saw first hand how important the work done at St Wilfrid’s is.

“Our family saw a loved one pass away in a peaceful and dignified way. The hospice taught us how to care for my mother and the work it did helped to make my mother’s final days peaceful cannot be underestimated. It enabled us to have a warm feeling about she how finally slipped away.”

To find out more information about REACH, visit www.hospicereach.org or to get involved ring Duncan Adams on 637868.