This is what it takes

07 October 2019
Hospice Care Week (October 7th-13th) is an annual campaign organised by national charity Hospice UK, which is designed to celebrate the work of hospices around the country, and raise awareness of the dedicated and specialist care they offer. This year its focus is ‘this is what it takes’; a chance to show what is needed to provide – and pay for – hospice care. We talk about what it takes to provide our care.

Martin House is a place to live, have fun, relax, and make memories. We make a real difference to people’s lives – but it isn’t simple.

Every year we care for more than 420 children and young people with life-limiting conditions – which means they are not expected to live beyond young adulthood – along with supporting more than 150 bereaved families.
Many of the children we care for have complex, sometimes undiagnosed conditions; our care encompasses the whole family throughout the child’s life and beyond, in bereavement support – families often remain in our care for many years.

Our approach is holistic and family-led, our hospice at Boston Spa a home-from-home; providing respite stays, but also emergency care and symptom control, along with end of life care.

Since 1987 we have supported thousands of families across West, North and East Yorkshire.

So what does it take to provide this care?

It takes a dedicated 200-strong care team of specialist palliative care doctors and consultants, psychologist, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, music therapists, artists-in-residence, a chaplain and bereavement counsellors, all bringing their expertise to ensure children’s needs are met.

The hospice is open 24/7, and our doctors are always on call to help families in need of advice and support.

Between April 2018 and March 2019 we provided more than 2,500 nights of care to children and young people, with over 3,000 overnight stays for parents, brothers and sisters. For parents who are often caring for poorly children around the clock, that means the precious chance for a good night’s sleep.

Our community team gave nearly 2,800 hours of care at home, and we provided 969 hours of bereavement support to families, including one-to-one counselling and group sessions for parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.

In the hospice, in 12 months our artists-in-residence spent 1,606 hours creating art with children and making memory items for bereaved families, while children and young people enjoyed 1,971 hours of music therapy.

On top of this are thousands of home-cooked meals made by our chefs and their volunteers, enabling families to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal together; and dozens of days out, taking children on trips to the seaside, cinema and many other places. These are things most of us can take for granted, but which can be a huge challenge for families.

The cost of providing this care isn’t cheap. We currently need more than £8 million a year to run Martin House, and nearly 90 per cent of that comes from voluntary contributions and fundraising. Only a small fraction of our costs are met from statutory sources.

Our fundraising team has a mammoth task each year, and work with a huge range of people, including community groups, schools, businesses and individuals, along with organising our own events to raise that money.

We also have a chain of 13 charity shops across our region, run with the help of around 300 volunteers – plus more people volunteering at the hospice and in the community to support us.

This is what it takes to run Martin House.