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1. What is the charity number?
   Charity number 1061321 - Ealing Hospital Charitable funds and Meadow House Hospice comes under that umbrella Trust Fund 4300.
2. How much time does volunteering involve?
   Your commitment can be as little as 2 hours a fortnight or as much as a weekly all day session. The time involved depends entirely on what an individual volunteer has to offer.
3. Why is Meadow House Hospice promoting Legacy Giving?
   Legacy giving is decreasing across the care sector and Meadow House Hospice is not immune. Gifts left to Meadow House Hospice in Wills continue to provide a large part of the voluntary contributions needed to allow the Hospice to continue providing the highest standards of care possible free of charge to the people of Ealing and Hounslow. Anyone can leave a gift to Meadow House Hospice and, no matter the size; a gift in a Will is invaluable to the Hospice as it helps give Meadow House Hospice the confidence to continue its commitment to further develop the highest standards of care. Only one in three people make a Will, and many people do not update their Wills. Writing a Will need not be a complex or frightening procedure. A properly executed Will ensures your loved ones are provided for, instead of your assets going elsewhere or to the State. A legacy can be anything from a chosen sum of money or collectables to paintings. All gifts to UK registered charities are free of 40% Inheritance Tax meaning that a gift of any amount would come in full to Meadow House Hospice and would be very much appreciated.
4. What qualifications do you need to be a volunteer?
   None, just a compassionate and practical personality, and the ability to care for all types of people. If you have suffered a personal bereavement in the previous 2 years you may not be eligible as a volunteer but this is dependent on each individual.
5. Does the Hospice have an Environmental Policy?
   The staff of the Specialist Palliative care service (SPCS) recognise the need to minimise the environmental impact of all Care delivered in all areas of its business. The SPCS will: • act to minimise emissions to air, land and water, and will monitor and review pollution control systems with the aim of effecting continuous improvement. • reduce consumption where possible, and aim to reuse and recycle waste. • achieve compliance with applicable UK legislation on the environment. • aim to achieve compliance with applicable national and international standards for environmental management • preserve and enrich the biodiversity of land in its control where possible.
6. Who provides care at home?
   We are careful to achieve a match between our carer and people in our care and we strive to achieve continuity, so that they can expect a familiar face. Our carers are specially trained, receive moving and handling training, medication training and training in a range of topics including palliative care, dementia care, AIDS / HIV awareness, lone working.
7. Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?
   Your hospice provider will assess your needs, recommend any equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain any necessary equipment. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.
8. What is a Hospice?
   A hospice is an umbrella term for a range of services which provide specialist palliative care to those living with a life threatening illness. Services provided by Meadow House Hospice – Ealing and Hounslow service include:- Inpatients, Community Service (visiting patients in their homes), Day Care,Supportive and Medical Outpatients, Community Specialist Palliative Care Team, Lymphoedema, Complementary Therapies – massage, aromatherapy and reflexology.
9. What Does Palliative Care Mean?
   Palliative care was first developed in the UK by the voluntary hospice movement. In 1987 palliative care became a recognised approach to care across a range of settings and termed ‘palliative medicine’. Palliative care is for patients with an advanced and progressive illness including heart failure, neurological illness as well as cancer. This involves management of pain and other symptoms. It also provides valuable psychological, social and spiritual support. The palliative care approach also includes support for family/carers. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families/carers. Some parts of palliative care may be needed earlier in the course of illness e.g. at the same time as having other treatments. This may involve symptom/pain control etc.
10. Is the Hospice a place to go when you die?
   Patients are admitted to Meadow House Hospice for a number of reasons including symptom control (help with breathing/pain), supportive care following treatment , planned/review of care for patients with complex needs and for care at end of life. We work with you and your family to ensure that you die or are cared for in your preferred place of care. Over 25% of patients admitted to the hospice go home when they have had their review of care.
11. Does the hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
   The Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of child birth, hospice provides its presence and specialised knowledge during the end of life and/or dying process.
12. Should I wait for our GP to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
   The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their GP, other health care professionals, clergy or friends. They can ring the Clinical Nurse Specialists at the Hospice to get a referral for assessment of their individual needs.
13. When should a decision about entering a hospice be made and who should make it?
   At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Most hospices accept patients who have a life-expectancy of six months or less and who are referred by their personal physician. If your condition is life limiting e.g., heart failure and you need admission to manage your symptoms this is also appropriate.
14. What if I cannot speak understand English?
   We offer an interpreter service and many staff can help out on site for an initial contact/visit. It is best if we have time to arrange a suitable person for you when you visit us or we come out to you.
15. How can I access services at Meadow House Hospice?
   You can be referred by a healthcare professional such as your GP, District Nurse and you can also refer yourself or a family member can do so for you. You will then be reviewed by the team and a plan of care discussed with you.
16. Does it matter where I live?
   Not at all. Other than in a few instances, all of our services are available to anyone who needs them. We provide services equally to people of any ethnic origin or background and will do our best to meet individual requirements. We generally take referrals from within the Ealing and Hounslow area. If you are outside this area, it may be that there is another hospice closer to where you live.
17. What illnesses mean that I can access services at Meadow House hospice?
   Patients who have any advanced, progressive illness and who have complex specialist palliative care needs are able to access Meadow House hospice services. However, the hospice only offers supportive care to patients and their carers who are affected by a cancer/or long term diagnosis such as conditions that cannot be cured but can be controlled to give each patient a better quality of life.
18. How long is the average stay in the Hospice?
   Patients are admitted for a period of assessment. Length of stay will depend on individual need. However, the hospice is unable to offer long-term care. The average length of inpatient stay is 12 - 14 days, but for some a few days is sufficient to review their management and get them home again.
19. What does the hospice admission process involve?
   One of the first things the hospice admission will do is contact the patient’s GP to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. It may be that you would prefer to be supported at home. (Most hospices have medical staff available to help patients who have no GP available to do this for them especially if they self -refer).
20. Is hospice affiliated with any religious organisation?
   No. While some churches and religious groups have started hospices (sometimes in connection with their hospitals), this hospice serves a broad multi-cultural community and does not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs. We welcome all people in the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow who require our specific expertise.
21. Does Hospice care demand additional expenses to be paid by the patient?
   NO. Hospice care also supports the family and loved ones of the person through a variety of services. This benefit covers almost all aspects of hospice care with no expense to the patient or family.
22. Does the hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
   Most hospices provide continuing contact and support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Many hospices also sponsor bereavement groups and support for anyone in the community who has experienced a death of a family member, a friend, or similar losses. http://www.hospiceinformation.info/links.asp
23. What is supportive care?
   The aim of supportive care is to help patients and their families/carers cope with cancer and its treatment – from pre-diagnosis, diagnosis, treatment, cure, continuing illness, death and into bereavement. Supportive care is important as it helps patients live life as well as possible with the physical and/or psychological effects of cancer and its treatments.
24. Must someone be with the patient at all times?
   In the early weeks of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, hospices may have volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers.
25. How does the hospice “manage pain”?
   The service believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it can address each. Hospice nurses and consultants/doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists can assist patients to be as mobile and self sufficient as they wish, and they are sometimes joined by specialists schooled in art therapy, massage and diet counselling. Finally, various counsellors, including chaplaincy, are available to assist family members as well as patients.
26. What is hospice’s success rate in taking pain away pain?
   Very high. Using some combination of medications, counselling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of pain free comfort that is acceptable to them.
27. Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what’s happening?
   Usually not. It is the goal of hospice to have the patient as pain free and alert as possible. By constantly consulting with the patient, the hospice has been very successful in reaching this goal.
28. Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
   Certainly. If the patient’s condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or maintenance therapy or go on about their daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, they can self refer. Everyone is an individual and as such the care is different for everyone.
29. Is caring for the patient at home or hospice the only place this care can be delivered?
   No. Hospice patients receive care in their personal residences, nursing/care homes, acute hospital palliative care units and inpatient hospice centres. All care is individually planned with and to suit the patient.
30. Can I have Hospice care at home?
   Yes, in fact, most hospice care takes place in the home, even though there are hospice centres, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities that provide hospice care programmes. Caring for a person at home, who has a serious medical illness, demands patience and compassion. Usually, a family member or close friend will assume the majority of the responsibility in providing the care at home and serve as primary caregiver. Hospice staff will meet regularly with family to evaluate needs and provide any services necessary, such as: • Teach family to care for loved one as much as is realistically possible • Set up hospice staff visits to the home • Order necessary equipment and supplies, and ensure that they arrive promptly • Explain how pain and other symptoms will be controlled • Answer calls and urgent questions at any time of the day and night • Include family in planning care • Arrange for spiritual support, if requested • Arrange for brief stays in a hospital or nursing home or respite care if family caregivers need time away from their responsibilities at home • Explain to family what is likely to happen upon death • Work with family to prepare advanced directives, if requested • Offer grief support to help family adjust to life changes after death.
31. How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
   There is no set number. One of the first things a hospice team will do is to prepare an individualised advanced plan of care that will, among other things, address the amount of care giving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer all questions.
32. What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?
   Hospice patients are cared for by a team consisting of a consultant, a clinical nurse specialist, social workers, counsellors (Psychosocial, cognitive therapist/bereavement), home health care assistants, chaplain, therapists – speech and language, occupational and physiotherapist, and volunteers. Each one provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospices provide medications, supplies, equipment, and other services related to the terminal/temporary debilitating life limiting illnesses.
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