Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice
Recently I was invited to visit the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. Sue Ryder is a charity supporting people living with life-limiting and long-term conditions, and most people within the Gloucestershire area are probably aware of it due to their charity shops. Fewer people are aware of the hospice itself. As I drove up to hospice, I did question if I was at the right place – the beautiful building at the edge of the Cotswold Hills, surrounded by such beautiful countryside had more of a feel of an exclusive retreat than of a hospice.
The hospice provides palliative and end of life care and support for people aged 18 years or older. I wasn’t sure what to expect inside, but it didn’t feel like I was in any type of hospital. If it weren’t for the odd piece of equipment that I caught sight of, I would have honestly thought I was in a quaint little Cotswold hotel. The chapel looked nothing like a traditional chapel, and with its comfy seats, looking out on the views of the Cotswolds through stone-framed windows, reminiscent of the kind of quiet sitting room you may find in a local, boutique hotel. I suppose its the calm and tranquil environment which adds to the quality of the care provided by this Sue Ryder hospice.
The hospice itself is unique in terms of the services which it offers within the area. I was interested to learn that not only does it provide a 16-bed hospice but also has a separate day services building which aims to support people to be cared for at home for as long as possible. The day services enable patients to come in for medical procedures, or a consultation. The conservatory is a beautiful room looking out into the gardens where patients or their carers can have a break and a cuppa with people in similar situations. The part I loved best was the art room – a place where patients can take part in art therapy.
When you have been in a situation where you have lost a loved one, as I have, you become much more conscious of your own mortality. Most people in their thirties are unlikely to give much thought as to what might become of them, or how they may be cared for if they have a life-limiting condition. My visit to the hospice was actually very comforting to know the quality of care which is available to patients, but also the bereavement support which is provided to families. I suppose when you think of people going to a hospice, there is the assumption, that this is where there life will end, but at Leckhampton Court 54% of the patients actually return home.
Of course, to provide the care which they do costs money. Leckhampton Court costs £7000 a day to run, with the hospice having to raise £1.6 million locally a year. There is always a chance that you will be in the situation where you find yourself with a life-limiting condition, and in need of the care from Sue Ryder, and that is why I fully intend to support the charity when I can, in case I am ever in need of their services. If you are in the same mind as I am, then there are lots of ways that you can help support Sue Ryder, including many local events across the county. To keep up to date with all their events and news, follow them on Facebook or Twitter or check out their website.