A hospice celebrating its 21st anniversary is planning to extend its outreach services to care for patients in their own homes.
The idea is one of the key aims of a new five-year strategy launched by St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph which also calls for more Government-funding for hospices.
The hospice provides unparalleled care for those with life-threatening and terminal illness, but currently has to rely on 80 per cent of its income from the generous donations of the public.
The proposed Hospice in the Home outreach programme will complement the current day therapy, in-patient accommodation and respite care services provided there.
It is also hoped to add to the number of in-patient facilities at the hospice, provide more staff training, research and development as well as forging stronger information and research links with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s palliative care team.
The 16-page 2016-2021 strategy is the result of lengthy consultations with community members, hospice staff and medical professionals across the region
After a marathon community fundraising effort, St Kentigern Hospice opened its doors for day patients 21 years ago in 2005, going on to offer its first in-patient facilities in 2000.
Mr Jones said: “The 21st anniversary has been a time to reflect on the huge achievements made and the hurdles overcome in recent years, but it’s also time to look forward at the continued strides we want to make and the need to deliver optimal standards of palliative care to patients across our community in the future.
“While the hospice will continue to provide excellent in-house care, it has become clear that it is impossible to meet all the needs of the community purely from our on-site activity.
“As a result the management board has committed itself to further developing services within the wider community in partnership with statutory and non-statutory organisations.
That includes offering greater flexibility of service and, through the Hospice at Home project, striving to increase support for family carers challenged with looking after loved ones in their own homes.”
Mr Jones added: “When I first joined the team the economic climate was bleak and the hospice encountering tough times financially, we had to make some difficult decisions, some cutbacks.
“Everyone has worked hard to get through that period and we have started to re-build. Now we are in a position to look at how we can continue to provide the best services possible here within the hospice itself and also to further develop our outreach services helping people benefit from our first class specialist care in their own homes.
“We will also be looking, with financial caution, at the possibility of providing a few more in-patient facilities here on the St Kentigern site.”
The strategy launch was welcomed by Denbighshire County Council chairman, Councillor Ann Davies, who once volunteered at the hospice in its early days.
She said it provided an invaluable service to the local community and she was proud to have witnessed its continued development over the years.
She said: “The commitment of the staff who work here, the volunteers and all our community members who have relentlessly supported St Kentigern is to be admired. I welcome the strategic goals announced for the future and look forward to seeing this much loved hospice further develop over the coming five years and beyond.”
She said the hospice would be the beneficiary of her Chairman’s fund-raising appeal over the next year.
Cllr Bobby Feeley said the hospice’s warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere was testimony to the high standards of service it provides.
She said: “It is commendable that it receives such unstinting support from local people here in St Asaph and the wider community as a whole has had a very real input into deciding which direction its development should take in the future.”
Hospice Chief Executive, Iain Mitchell, said the strategy had taken several months to formulate following talks with all relevant bodies, including the staff and the local community.
He said: “We wanted to gather together as many thoughts and ideas as possible, particularly from community members. It is after all their hospice. As managers we run it, but the community owns it and it is right that they should have the major say in how they would like to see this vital facility develop in the future. We made strident efforts to talk to as many interested parties as possible.
“We are pleased with the results and believe we have formulated an exciting and workable strategy which will see the hospice thrive well into the 2020s.”