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Providing palliative care across rural Devon

Hospiscare provides care over 1,000 square miles of Devon, including some of the most rural areas of the county

Our team of nurses, doctors, therapists, paramedics and other healthcare professionals provide tailored end-of-life care on our specialist ward in Exeter, as well as in patients’ own homes.

We also offer a range of other services to support patients and their families, such as spiritual care, complementary therapy and bereavement support – services that can only continue with support from our community.

In 2022, we were grateful to receive funding from a small group of generous local individuals and organisations, allowing us to expand our Hospiscare@Home service to Okehampton, Crediton and North Dartmoor, enabling local people to access crucial end-of-life care at home.

When facing a terminal illness, being at home surrounded by loved ones, pets, and possessions can provide comfort and solace. In 2019, it was found that although 81% of patients wish to die in their own homes, only 24% in Devon were able to do so.

Within the first 12 months of our new service launching, a total of 921 visits were made by our team to patients in the area, and in 2022/23, 99% were able to die in their preferred place.

Hospiscare nurse, Hannah Thomas, says, “In the time that the new service has been in place, we’ve seen a huge need for it. We cover a large patch of Devon and go to rural places where other services may struggle to provide cover. We visit patients with complex life-limiting illnesses who need the expertise of the hospice in the last weeks of life.

“We can provide the care they would receive on our ward but in the comfort of their own home, including practical, hands-on support, as well as emotional care and support. I feel proud to be a Hospiscare nurse and to go the extra mile. Getting to know our patients and their families is a privilege at what is a stressful and emotional time in their lives.”

Since expanding the service to the area, we have gained vital local support, including from the Mayor of Okehampton, Allenton Fisher, who explains, “I found out what Hospiscare@Home did at a presentation in Okehampton Hospital. I was surprised there was a charity that would allow people to have their last few weeks or months of life in their own home; to be able to spend your last days at home makes it much less stressful.

“As Mayor, I have made it my Charity of the Year and I’m enjoying telling anybody and everybody I meet about what the hospice is doing in our area. I have been privileged to meet quite a few of the staff and to say they are dedicated to their work is a massive understatement.

“I will continue to support Hospiscare when I have completed my term as Mayor and ensure we all understand that it is a charity that needs funding. Fundraising is an important part of supporting, so please support them if you can. You never know when you will need them, but we will ALL need them one day.”

Our Hospiscare services are reliant on over 80% of our funds coming from the generosity of the local community. With the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, we need more support than ever before to keep our services running.