On Monday morning at 10.00am I found myself in Morrisons car park to welcome the brand new Weldmar Hospicecare Community Outreach Vehicle to Bridport for the first time. The Weldmar Community Outreach Vehicle was launched in September 2020, after successfully securing the funding needed to commission it from the Christmas 2019 Appeal, and a trust donation from the Werth Foundation.
Perhaps like me before my visit, you may be wondering why a hospice needs such a vehicle. I had somewhat naively assumed that everything was delivered at the hospice itself. If I am honest my only previous contact with Weldmar Hospicecare was their charity shop in East Street which has received more than a few items from the Bark family over the past few years.
We all know that Dorset is an incredibly beautiful county to live and work in. But it also has its problems. For example around 47% of Weldmar Hospicecare’s patients live in rural locations. This means that they can easily feel isolated with little support around them. For some of their patients, the only people they will see during the week is a member of the Weldmar Hospicecare team of outreach care professionals.
I did not realise that 83% of their care is actually given in the community. When I met them, Matt Smith, Director of Fundraising and Marketing, and Sarah Hunter, Assistant Practitioner told me that, “They deliver five Day Services across Dorset, but sadly, this doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. We wanted to do more to help reduce loneliness and isolation in our county. It is because of the number highly rural location across the county, and the fact that many of our patients find it difficult to travel long distances.”
The short film below tells you more about the Weldmar Hospicare Outreach Vehicle.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in some way. Apart from those who have fallen victims to the virus it is those people who have been shielding for weeks on end who have been badly hit, particularly if they live alone. One positive result of the virus has been an increase in the awareness of this and of neighbours taking time to support each other by checking they were ok and shop for them. This in a strange way has increased the amount of social contact many have had.
This includes for some, at a critical time in their life, the welcome visit of the Weldmar Community Nurse. The following short extract from a day in the life of Weldmar Community Nurse, Sarah Groom illustrates this:
11.00am. Home visit to patient in a small village on the outskirts of Dorchester. Arrived at patient’s home wearing full PPE (gloves, apron, and face mask). Visit necessary to assess patient face to face, also to review medication and change their syringe driver. The patient was distressed, so injection given to relieve pain and agitation. Support provided to patient and relative, patient settled. Contacted both GP and District Nurse to update them and request other medication.
There are very few things in life that are guaranteed to happen. Our demise is probably the only thing that we can say with absolute certainty is guaranteed one day. This is a subject that none of us wishes to think about, we go through life thinking we are invincible and will live for ever. For me the moment I realised this was not the case was when my mother, followed by my father a few years later, passed away. The rocks that had always been there for me were gone and I had to stand on my own two feet and become the rock for my own children.
Thank goodness we have no idea when and how we will pass away. It is a comfort to know that if the need arises Weldmar Hospicecare will be there to provide specialist end of life care for people in need across Dorset. They have a dedicated team of nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers and counsellors, but only 21% of our funds are provided by the NHS – the rest is raised for our Dorset charity thanks to the support of the local community.
My eyes having been opened to the range of support available both in the hospice and the wider community I have nothing but the greatest respect for the work Weldmar Hospicecare staff deliver. To find out more and how you can support them to ensure they will be there if and when you need them visit their website. https://www.weld-hospice.org.uk/