St Mary’s Hospice

Cost of project

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice was founded 37 years ago in 1979, at the beginning of the hospice care movement. Monica Pearce worked tirelessly to obtain donations to fund the hospice – it took 6 years to raise the £358,000 needed to start the Hospice. Monica recognised the need for people with terminal illnesses and their families and carers to be treated holistically, on top of receiving medical care.

What is St Mary’s Hospice?
It now costs £8 million a year to run the hospice. As well as a 25 bed inpatient unit, they offer Community nursing, a Hospice at Home service, Day Hospice for outpatients, a transfusion clinic, and a range of support for family and carers.

The hospice has always believed in helping patients and families holistically. As the hospice provides end of life care, a chaplain and social worker have been available for bereavement support throughout this time. The Family and Carer Support Team (FACST) was officially formed in 2010. The creation of the FACST team focused our efforts in supporting people caring for our terminally ill patients, offering emotional support throughout illness, practical support, and bereavement and pre-­bereavement counselling. Since the formation of an official team, demand has continued to grow steadily, and thus the team has also continued to grow. St Mary’s Hospice also have a specialist child bereavement worker. They recognise that caring for a person with a terminal illness can be consuming, and everybody around the patient will have to deal with the loss of a loved one. Simply providing care to the patient does not deal with these needs, and as such they offer support for family and carers even after bereavement, for as long as it is needed. This support aims to help families to cope with their loss, and transition back to day to day life, dealing with bereavement and also with the change of no longer being carers. St Mary’s Hospice recognises that living with the uncertainty and unpredictability of a terminal illness can leave a child feeling anxious, vulnerable and insecure, even before experiencing loss. On top of this, when a child experiences bereavement, grief can be confusing, isolating and frightening for children, who will each react differently. This may include being sensitive,angry, irritable or even some level of regression.

If successful, what will you use your LoveBrum funding for?
One of the services that St Mary’s Hospice would love to do is offer a support group at the Hospice for Children who have experienced the loss of a close one. The support group would be small in size, but would allow children the chance to interact with others who have also experienced loss, and give them a chance to realise they are not on their own with their feelings. The group will use arts and crafts activities to help them express their emotions and work through their loss, facilitated by a children’s bereavement worker and trained volunteers. Peer support would also be facilitated and encouraged. Parents/carers would also be asked to stay on site, and this gives them a chance to meet other parents/ carers of bereaved children and in turn, will offer a support network to them too. St Mary’s Hospice hope that by helping Children at this time, they will have a positive impact on their life – for example, improve emotional well being, behaviour and family relationships.

Where can people go to find out more about St Mary’s Hospice?
For more information about St Mary’s Hospice, please contact: Laura Rollason, Community Fundraiser. Tel: 0121 472 1191
Check out their website here.
St Mary’s Hospice is also on Facebook.
and Twitter @brumshospice

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