Jackie Husband: St Columba’s Hospice looks to future

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With an ageing population and more people than ever accessing palliative care services, it’s vital that hospices maintain their position as leaders in providing end-of-life care.

In Edinburgh, St Columba’s Hospice provides palliative care to people from the city and the Lothians and has done since 1977. In the 38 years that have passed, St Columba’s Hospice has become one of Scotland’s leading hospices and it continues to raise almost £8 million each year to keep it running.

With such a huge requirement to raise funds, it’s vital the hospice operates in a way that best uses donations to deliver exceptional care for patients and their loved ones. Donations to the hospice fund a 30-bed inpatient unit; a community palliative care team whose members make 3,000 home visits a year; a Day Hospice, an outpatient unit and a Centre for Education & Research.

As a result of the need to grow, St Columba’s Hospice has developed a five-year strategy called Care and Compassion Matters, outlining how it will operate through 2015 to 2020.

The strategy outlines how the Hospice will develop services including supporting developments in care homes; extending the community team service to seven-day working; and increasing the community provision by extending physiotherapy and occupational therapy support.

Care and Compassion Matters also outlines how the Hospice will work with GPs and health professionals to review referral processes, and with NHS Lothian and Marie Curie Edinburgh to enhance palliative care across the region.

St Columba’s Hospice will develop services to focus on childhood bereavement, implement an art strategy and create a hub for pre- and post-bereavement support.

The Hospice’s dedicated Centre for Education & Research will carry on developing future leaders in palliative care and continue to work with universities, hospitals, health and social care organisations to ensure palliative care is second-to-none.

The Hospice must sustain its current running costs and fund future developments and to do this it will increase the number of its shops, strengthen its fundraising portfolio and continue to promote its work to secure financial support for specific service developments.

Care and Compassion Matters is the name of the five-year strategy but it’s also the heart of everything the Hospice does.

With more people than ever needing palliative care services, it’s vital that we develop to meet the needs of our community, and the new strategy allows St Columba’s Hospice to do this.

Jackie Husband is chief executive of St Columba’s Hospice