When people think of St Catherine’s Hospice, I imagine the first thing which comes to mind is the inpatient unit, and the care provided to people with life-shortening illnesses such as cancer.
Whilst this is certainly a very important part of the charity’s work, there is a much wider range of care and support offered by the wonderful staff here – from practical and physical treatments and therapies, to emotional support and useful advice.
This extends to families and carers as well as patients, through a range of dedicated services such as bereavement support facilities, carers’ social sessions, and legal guidance drop-ins.
As well as caring for people in their final days, the hospice equally specialises in palliative care, which involves pain management and the treatment of symptoms associated with terminal illnesses, to help promote a better quality of life for the individual.
The hospice’s Day Therapy is a lifeline which sees people who are diagnosed with a progressive disease attend weekly sessions to access medical, nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy treatments.
Day Therapy patients also enjoy a variety of social activities such as crafts and gardening, and complementary therapies such as reflexology and aromatherapy massages.
It’s important that people attending St Catherine’s feel valued as individuals, and one thing that I hear from patients and families over and again, is how the care provided here is very personalised.
But it’s not just about treatments; people appreciate that they are encouraged to maintain their identity and independence, and a real asset to the charity is the hospice’s onsite hairdresser Lesley, who has a small salon room in the building, and also visits Day Therapy and the inpatient unit, which really boosts people’s self-esteem.
Many people may also be unaware of the onsite clinic offering a specialist lymphoedema service, called the Woodside Clinic. The award-winning team treats cancer and non-cancer related lymphoedema – a condition which affects the process by which people filter and drain waste fluid from the body. It offers treatments to ease discomfort. The service treats children as well as adults, providing the only paediatric lymphoedema service in the North West.
I hope this column has helped to raise more awareness about the wide range of care provided by St Catherine’s, and why it’s so valuable for the Leyland community to have such a significant place on their doorstep in Lostock Hall. Nobody likes the idea of being admitted to a hospice, but if that time comes for you or your loved ones, I hope you will feel reassured that St Catherine’s is here for people every step of the way, from diagnosis to remembrance and reflection.
Lastly, I’d just like to highlight a few fundraising events which are coming up in the next couple of months, which help to fund the specialist care I’ve just spoken about.
The Morecambe Bay Walk is taking place on September 10, and Bark in the Park at Preston’s Avenham Park is on October 1. There’s also a sponsored skydive in Lancaster on September 10 for any thrill-seekers! Visit www.stcatherines.co.uk for more details.