30 November 2020

Help Rennie Grove keep caring for local families this Christmas

We're launching an appeal this Christmas calling for support from the local community to help our nurses continue to care for local people in their homes over the festive period.

At a time when many services have stopped or are reduced, ​our hospice at home teams continue to provide care for people with life-limiting illnesses and support for their families. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people being cared for by Rennie Grove has reached record highs as we seek to take pressure off the NHS and keep patients out of hospital and at home with their families.

Although many of​ our patient referrals come from the NHS, we only receive​ 12% of our annual funding from the government, which means the rest needs to be raised by supporters.

Our Hospice at Home Nurse Rachel Griffith said: “The hardest thing about doing this job during a pandemic is that I can’t give someone a hug when they’re sad.”

“Families tell us that having us at the end of a phone over the festive period, to be reassured or for us to plan a visit, when other services are limited, gives them the confidence to relax and enjoy the special moments that matter, together.”

“With your support, my colleagues and I will be able to give the same level of care this Christmas, in spite of the challenging situation we find ourselves in, as we do every year.”

Rachel cared for Andy and his family for nearly three years, including through lockdown, until he died this summer aged 56 of multiple systems atrophy, just before his twentieth wedding anniversary.

Andy’s wife, Theresa, said:  “During lockdown – when every other service we’d come to rely on stopped – Rennie Grove stepped up.”

“Our boys were just eight and ten when Andy got his diagnosis. We knew then that it was terminal – we just didn’t know how long we had. Our GP referred us to Rennie Grove’s Family Support Service so we could start having conversations about how much to tell the children and when to involve Oliver and Joseph.

Andy and son

“Rachel did a brilliant job of preparing us for each stage of Andy’s illness. She would plant little seeds of what we could expect or what we might need to consider next.

“When I first heard about hospice at home – I thought, naively, it was about cutting costs. But as Andy’s illness progressed, I realised how important it was for him to be at home, surrounded by the people and things he knew and loved, and supported by high quality, completely personalised care, over which we had more say and more control. This became more important than ever once coronavirus came along.

“The Rennie Grove nurses are angels who haven’t got their wings yet – calm, straight-talking, highly skilled angels with immense experience and compassion. They helped us make sure Andy could live every last bit of his life and that his passing was peaceful and dignified and his wishes fulfilled. In spite of everything, and because of their support, I have no regrets. I don’t know what I’d have done without them.”

Without your help, Rennie Grove wouldn’t be able to provide its specialist care in patients’ homes. That’s why we're asking for your help this Christmas, at a time when people need hospice at home care more than ever before.

Donating £28.50 could cover the cost of an hour-long nursing visit to a patient like Andy this Christmas, or just £14.25 could pay for a 30-minute phone call to reassure and help prevent an emergency hospital admission. A donation of £84.50 could pay for an hour of the night shift, giving essential care and support for patients and their families overnight.

You can read more about Andy’s story and donate securely at www.renniegrove.org/andysappeal or call Rennie Grove on 01442 890222 if you’d prefer to donate over the phone.