More people affected by life-limiting illnesses in the High Peak and surrounding areas are set to benefit from extended holistic, palliative and end of life care, as Blythe House Hospicecare introduces its modernised services and brand new Community Hub.

Launching in autumn 2020, the Blythe House Hospicecare Community Hub will continue to provide a wide range of services, but deliver them in a different way: a more modern, post-COVID-19 way, which will help many more patients and their carers.

A multi-disciplinary team, including nurses, counsellors, a physiotherapist and occupational therapist, will provide programmes of care, education and support during the day, in the evenings and weekends. There will be more support groups and clinics, working alongside clinicians and therapists to offer a wider range of much-needed services.

Local people who are affected by illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease, advanced heart, kidney and respiratory diseases– including patients, their families, carers and medical professionals – will have access to the Community Hub.

New horizons – maintaining excellence and improving where needed

Innovative services on offer will include educational and support programmes for fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness; dementia care; parenting through grief; well-being and physical activity.

In addition to the hospice’s current offering of outpatient clinics, there will be more sessions for local patients to receive care, guidance and medical advice closer to home, avoiding lengthy travel to hospitals or other healthcare providers. This will include nurse advice clinics for information, support, and symptom management advice, as well as a carer’s surgery. Specialist colleagues, including Dr Sarah Parnacott, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, will offer their clinics from the Community Hub.

The hospice will continue to enjoy strong links and relationships with local partners including Ashgate Hospicecare; GPs; community and specialist nurses; and other care providers, so that patients receive the most comprehensive care.

An all-day community café on Fridays will provide light refreshments including breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas, for patients and families to enjoy the hospice’s unique environment and atmosphere.

Working in unison with the Community Hub, the Hospice at Home service will continue to provide 24/7 care to local patients, who wish to die in the comfort of their own home with their family and loved ones by their side.

Hospice transformation and volunteer power

To coincide with the launch of the new service model, the hospice building, based on Eccles Fold in Chapel-en-le-Frith, is currently undergoing a major transformation to ensure it is accessible to all visitors. Managed and co-funded by national charity, CRASH, the project is drawing on the professional skills, materials and financial generosity of the construction industry.

Alongside this, stimulating training opportunities will be available to new and existing hospice volunteers. The current team of almost 300 volunteers donate hundreds of hours of their time every year, to ensure that Blythe House can continue to provide free care and services to local people.

The Community Volunteer team – supporting local patients with light tasks and companionship – continues to grow and expand, building on its initial success and the invaluable support provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special Blythe House ethos

Janet Dunphy, CEO at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘We are buzzing with excitement to launch our brand new Community Hub; Building Back Better to support even more people in our local area, whilst maintaining the very special ethos of Blythe House.

‘Generally, hospice services are continually monitored, and often change regularly such as every three years, to ensure that they are still fit for purpose, and solvent. The last review of services at Blythe House took place a decade ago, so it was vital that we undertook this research and analysis of our current offering.

‘We want our dedicated supporters who donate to us, to know that we’re helping as many people as possible, and providing services that are very much needed. Patients need local services that connect them to other healthcare systems, providing a multi-disciplinary service that is both flexible and accessible to everyone. Blythe House is keeping it local and ensuring resilience in our community.

‘Our committed Board of Trustees has overseen and agreed all of the exciting service revolutions; we have kept our mission, charitable objectives and core functions, and ensured that every pound donated is spent wisely. This was an exercise to maximise efficiency, not a cost-saving review; we are spending the same amount of money per year to deliver more services, and support even more people. All new services, including groups and clinical activity, will increase as they evolve and grow, to meet the growing and changing needs of our community.’

Career opportunities

As part of the exciting launch later this year, the hospice will be recruiting its own physiotherapist, occupational therapist and two care navigators, who will assess referrals and direct them to the appropriate in-house services.

The timing of the Community Hub launch is dictated by government restrictions given the current COVID-19 situation, but it is hoped that the new service provision will be available to local people by October 2020.

Blythe House was founded in 1989 by Reverend Betty Packham after Stan Blythe from Fairfield left her a £1,000 legacy in his Will. Betty cared for Stan in the comfort of her home during the final months of his life.

Keep up to date on the Community Hub launch and upcoming job vacancies: