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35 things you didn't know about Hospiscare

It's Hospiscare Week, and to celebrate our 35th anniversary, we've put together a list of 35 lesser-known facts about Hospiscare!  How many did you know already? 

  1. Hospiscare is 35 years old 

    Hospiscare was started in 1982 with two community nurses and a team of local supporters who recognised the need for specialist palliative care at a community level. Thanks to them, Hospiscare continues to develop its services today for now and the future. 

    Nurses at the Hospice in 1992
  2. Relatives can stay at the hospice

    If your relative is being cared for on the ward at Searle House, you could arrange to stay in one of our two relatives’ bedrooms and make use of the visitors’ sitting room, where you can take some time out when needed. 

    Visitors can stay at the Hospice
  3. We don’t just care for cancer patients

    Hospiscare cares for people with all types of terminal illness, including heart failure. 

  4. You can drink alcohol on the ward 

    Staying on the ward doesn’t mean you can’t have your creature comforts and treats. Patients can bring their favourite tipple with them, or have wine with their meal.  

    Patient at Searle House drinks a tipple
  5. It’s not a one way street but a revolving door 

    Around half of the patients admitted to the ward are able to return home once their symptoms have been controlled. The average length of stay on the ward is 8-10 days.
  6. We once had a horse come to visit!  

    Pets can visit their owners on the ward – be they cats, dogs, or even horses! Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs also come to visit, bringing smiles and comfort to patients. 

  7. We have a new uniform! 

    All of our nurses wear uniforms. All other staff wear a name badge with the Hospiscare logo on it. You can ask any staff member anything and they will have the answer, or be pleased to help you find someone who does. 

    Nurses at Searle House
  8. Qualified professionalism is at the heart of what we do

    What does that mean? It means that we place importance on dignity, care, kindness and consideration – not only for patients and their families but for staff, volunteers, supporters and everyone who is part of the Hospiscare family. And it means that all our staff are appropriately qualified – they know what they’re doing! 
  9. You can have a career here 

    The Hospiscare Learning & Development Team provide courses and some funding for those who choose to learn new skills during their employment.    

    Work at Hospiscare
  10. There is laughter here 

    Laughter at Hospiscare
  11. We care for people in their own homes

    Not everyone needs or wants to come into the hospice, and we have a team of dedicated nurses to help you stay in your preferred place of care. 

  12. The garden is beautiful and functional! 

    There are outdoor electrical sockets in the garden at Searle House so beds can be wheeled outside for patients to enjoy the sunshine. There have also been wedding receptions and birthday parties in the garden! 

    Garden at Searle House
  13. We have our own kitchen 

    The Kitchen Team make the most wonderful food here onsite and it’s not unusual to get requests for special meals, which they are happy to make.  

  14. You can join our choir 

    The Hospiscare Choir is open to Hospiscare staff, volunteers and supporters. You don’t have to audition, just email and let them know you’re going to turn up on a Tuesday night at 4.45 pm (term time only). 

    Hospiscare choir
  15. We offer professional advice 24/7 

    Patients and their families are welcome to call our nurses at any time, day or night, because we know that terminal illness doesn’t fit a schedule. 
  16. One in five of our patients cared for by a Gift from a Will

    A Gift in your Will can keep Hospiscare services available for generations to come. 

    Patient at Hospiscare
  17. Over 1,000 volunteers keep Hospiscare running

    It takes all sorts: in shops, administration, sorting donations, repairing donated items, driving, complementary therapy, Care Navigators and more. If you have a skill or simply want to be more sociable or help in your community, we want you! Call Vicky or Bob on 01392 688005.

    Have a career at Hospiscare
  18. Hospiscare makes memories 

    Mary got her friends together for a limo ride and birthday party. Weddings have been held in the Chapel at Searle House. We can make things happen! 

    Mary's birthday party

  19. Bereavement services can help you through difficult times

    After a loved one has died, we will contact you to offer support through your grieving. You might decide you’re ok at the moment, the offer stays open should you change your mind.  

    We can help you through a bereavement
  20. Sometimes the care is invisible

    There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and in the community that people do not know about. So sometimes the care is invisible, but we’re always here, putting you and your needs first. 
  21. Spiritual support is available to all faiths, and those of none 

    Nigel and his volunteer chaplains don’t just support patients and their families, they are here for staff too.

    A family walks in Bluebell Woods
  22. Palliative care (caring for people at the end of their lives) is different to other care, and needs specialist skills and knowledge. 

    Hospiscare are the experts in palliative care in Exeter, Mid and East Devon, and we support other healthcare professionals – for example, GPs and hospital teams – with training and advice. 

    Tina Naldrett
  23. Some people get married here 

    In 2015 Nigel presided over 3 weddings, which gave everyone who was part of the celebrations special memories that will last a lifetime.  

    Marriage even happens at Hospices
  24. Everyone is welcome as a patient

    Our medical team also visit patients in the mental health or prison systems – all patients are cared for equally. 
  25. Tommy & Emma will tell you Hospiscare is all about relationships

    Tommy and Emma
  26. Hospiscare was founded by local people for local people

    We care for patients with a terminal illness throughout Exeter, Mid and East Devon only. We are not a national charity, we are local. 
  27. There are loads of ways to give back 

    We’re always looking for quality donations to our shops, for people to take part in our events and raise sponsorship, and of course, a gift in your Will can make a real difference to local people – however large or small.

    Support Hospiscare
  28. Carers and families can access lots of support

    Carer support groups are available with Hospiscare, chat with people in a similar situation to you and hear some fascinating guest speakers. Take a break from your pressures.
  29. Hospiscare is not just for old people 

    Hospiscare is an adult hospice caring for anyone from the age of 18. Watch Kirsty's story to find out more about how Hospiscare can help younger people. 

    Kirsty List
  30. Hospiscare is spelled this way for a reason

    Isca is the old Roman name for Exeter and is derived from the Celtic word ‘Eisca’ which means river full of fish (or ‘water’ depending on who you’re talking to!) It was used as part of the Hospiscare name because the charity was started in Exeter.   
  31. With around 50 Community Nurse Specialists, Hospiscare has one of the biggest CNS teams in the UK.

    Community Nurse Specialist Amanda care for people in the community
  32. It’s about living not dying 

    ‘You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.’ Dame Cicely Saunders  
  33. We don’t have restricted visiting hours 

    Reception at Searle House is open from 8am to 8pm. Families can visit patients outside of these hours; please let one of the nurses know if you will be visiting. 

    Patient in the garden
  34. Hospiscare enables independence 

    You get to choose how you are supported, whether that’s on the ward, at home, or in a care home. 

  35. There’s a piano at Searle House 

    Being at Searle House is not like being at hospital, because it’s not just about medical care. Things like access to a piano, fresh flowers around the building, and access to visitors’ sitting rooms and our tranquil chapel give patients, friends and family the opportunity to feel more at home and enjoy their surroundings. 


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