Pictured, L to R: Sue Duncan (Director of Nursing), Jacqueline Clark (CEO), Lady Catherine Stevenson (Patron), Dee Boley. Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Thames Hospicecare  (THc) (based in Ascot and Windsor) is celebrating its 25th anniversary  with the launch of a new Hospice-at-Home service.  An extra £315,000 will be needed and the Hospice at Home Appeal  was launched by its Patron  - Ascot’s Lady Catherine Stevenson, former High Sheriff of Berkshire  (pictured) , on Friday March 30th 2012.  The Appeal  has already attracted match funding from a local benefactor and is off to a flying start with a generous donation.

Thames Hopsicecare (THc)  want to keep patients at the heart of their service , supporting  people to die in the place of their choice, whenever possible. Hospice at Home aims to employ three specialist nurses,  providing care and support  all day all year.  The target is to do this for 120 patients at home  by the end of 2012/13 , rising to  200 by the end of 2014/15.  Chief Executive,  Jacqueline Clark   said: “This is taking out into the community , everything we are known for doing here at the Hospice”.  THc already cares for around 1,000 people a year.

Lady Stevenson said: “Thanks to medical advances over the last few decades, people are living longer with terminal illnesses . But this presents us with a new challenge – ensuring there are resources to support people effectively during this time. I’m in no doubt about the important role of Thames Hospicecare plays in the area and am delighted to be Patron of their new appeal. I hope you will get behind it and support this absolutely vital community service.”  Lady Stevenson then officially launched the Appeal with a substantial  donation of her own!

CEO, Jacqueline Clark  summarises the Appeal perfectly: “It seems appropriate, in our 25th year,  to establish a sustainable Hospice at Home service. Additional funds would allow us to support more people at home, if that is their wish- so they can live as  comfortably as possible around those who love them..”           At the moment 58% of patients die in hospital  -  often not what people want.

A very kind local benefactor, who doesn’t  want to be named,  has offered to provide match funding up to £150,000 – so for every £1 donated, it will be doubled !  Sue Lindsey,  Director of Fundraising, said: “This is a truly wonderful gift; it means that the vision we have, to help more people to die in their own home where they feel safe and less anxious, is closer to becoming reality. I’m sure that people wanting to support the Appeal, will be delighted to know that their hard work  will be rewarded by a matched gift. “
THc is a hugely respected local charity, with a very special role in caring for people with life limiting illnesses ( mainly cancer but not exclusively),  in the area from Windlesham to Slough.  The aim now is to identify and support  people who are entering the last 12 months of their life.

The new service  will be additional  to the wide range of services THc provides. The current £5million operation includes  17  specialist in-patient beds at Pine Lodge (Windsor) (the only such beds in East Berkshire), and a wonderful range of support services  . At the moment, there is only a limited hospice -at -home  service . National policy is to increase this area of palliative care.

We are very lucky in the Ascot area – such end of life care is by no means universal.  Yet, THc is a vital piece of the end-of-life care ‘jigsaw’,  dovetailing with  District Nurses,  as well as charities such as Marie Curie and Macmillan. When the New Health and Social Services Bill beds in,  THc expect to be working even more effectively with the GP commissioning groups.
Thanks to an integrated  database,  there is co-operation amongst the agencies and people are able to make swift, suitable choices about where they want to end their lives – in the least stressful and most comfortable environment possible. And it is not just the patients who benefit from THc’s comprehensive and caring approach – family and friends are also supported and this can make all the difference to recovery from bereavement.  The THc staff can often spend hours providing care, where mainstream agencies are inevitably brief.   
So, it looks very promising that  an excellent co-ordinated system is falling into place in East Berkshire. Not all areas have a hospice at all, let alone such a well run and supported  and imaginative facility !–  in the Ascot area, we are benefitting from  the vision of THc’s founders, including Ascot’s Penny  Bevan and  Dr Denny and friend, who founded Thames Valley Hospice in 1987.

THc  is kept running by  560 volunteers and 120 paid staff.  Only 20% of funding comes from the NHS,  meaning that the Hospice relies constantly on the very generous local community and hard-working fundraisers, to find £4million (plus the new £315,000). Over the last 25 years 1 in 4 patient’s care has been funded through gifts in wills and the 12 fundasing groups raise valuable and much needed funds at the same time as acting as ambassadors for the Hospice. (CLICK HERE for information on our Ascot branch) . CLICK HERE to see North Ascot Marathon runner's fundraising

Thames Hospicecare staff and volunteers work tirelessly, organising fundraisers such as  an April sponsored CYCLE RIDE,  the 25th ANNIVERSARY BALL (CLICK HERE) to see poster & booking form) , the SANTA DASH.  In Sunninghill, there will be a fundraising JUBILEE CONCERT at St.Michael’s .   

The Hospice Shops, including the one in Sunninghill High Street, raise hundreds of thousands of pounds.   The new Really Me vintage shop (CLICK HERE),  in Windsor’s Peascod Street,   has been so successful,  part of the Maidenhead shop is to be  transformed into ‘Marry Me’ – (watch this space)
AscotMatters carries posters about all the THc events, from sponsored walks to the Christmas concert. Keep an eye on our MAIN EVENTS/WhatsOn list, to see how you can help raise the £315,000 to employ the three specialist nurses – while having great fun along the way!  Visit www.thames hospicecare.org.uk

Another fundraiser is the beautiful  metalwork tree of life, donated by a Portugese artisan.  (pictured)!

Also, note that tulips  are blooming in public areas and verges all over the Ascot area. These were planted last November to mark Thames Hospicecare's 25th  anniversary. CLICK HERE  and

CLICK HERE to read about the THc Little Gardens

end of life care ascot

thames hospicecare

palliative care east berkshire

hospice at home