Blythe House is joining forces with Bakewell-based Helen’s Trust to extend Hospice at Home services to more patients across the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.

Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust have been discussing their organisational compatibility for over 12 months, and this formal partnership – officially launched today, 7th of September 2020 – is the natural progression of the special relationship.

The charities have been working closely together since April throughout lockdown, delivering over 1,800 hours of care to patients across the Dales and North East Derbyshire , in addition to those in the High Peak, who have life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and motor neurone disease.

After receiving 120 patient referrals from April to August 2020, 75 patients died in the comfort of their own home with their loved ones by their side – achieving a 100% outcome for the patient’s preferred place of death.

The need for this fundamental care in patient’s homes has never been clearer. A survey found that 82% of people wanted to die at home, but 50% of us die in hospital. Other research found that hospices could help reduce hospital deaths by 50,000 every year, generating £80m of savings for the NHS* (*Hospice UK).

Tim Mourne, chairman of the Blythe House Hospicecare board of trustees, said: ‘Over the last year, it has become more and more apparent that Blythe House and Helen’s Trust would be stronger together; ensuring better value from joint resources, and most importantly, reaching more local people who need us.

‘I am delighted to announce that Janet Dunphy, chief executive at Blythe House Hospicecare, has officially taken on the management of both charities, following the retirement of the former Helen’s Trust CEO earlier this year, and she will continue to lead the merged organisation.

‘The board of trustees at both charities have been merged, to support the exciting new partnership and its future development, bringing together local industry professionals with a wealth of knowledge and skills.’

Dr Louise Jordan, founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, added: ‘Blythe House and Helen’s Trust are both strong and aspiring local charities whose shared vision is to support more and more people, to have the choice to stay and die in their own home. Working together accomplishes this and provides a very high standard of care.

‘As a board, we are so incredibly glad that over the last year we have forged such strong links with Blythe House who share the same purpose and values. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us like a tornado but a clear sentiment between the two charities is that together, we are stronger.’

Janet Dunphy, CEO at Blythe House Hospicecare, has over 35 years’ experience as an end of life care specialist. She commented: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to oversee this incredibly exciting partnership, to ensure that everyone in our local community can receive the best Hospice at Home care.’

Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service launched in 2016 and since then, has delivered over 48,000 hours of day and night-time care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak.

Referral processes for both charity’s services will remain the same and can be made by:

  • Calling 01298 813007 or 01298 811770 for Blythe House
  • Calling 07780 331715 for Helen’s Trust

Cover image – Tim Mourne, Janet Dunphy and Dr Louise Jordan 

Read a blog post from Janet Dunphy, CEO, about the news.

Lovers of the great outdoors across the High Peak are being invited to support their local hospice as they go outside to run, walk, swim or bike.

We’re asking people to help raise vital funds by enjoying an outdoor activity and donating just £5.00 to hospice services.

Alistair enjoying a day at the zoo with his family to commemorate #GoOutsideDonateFive

Alistair Rogerson, business development manager, said: ‘Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the hospice hard, as we had to close our charity shops and cancel or postpone our fundraising events. We would love for local people to get behind this new fundraising initiative to help raise money for hospice care in the community.

‘Everyone can get involved by doing something fun outdoors – it could be hiking, biking, swimming, climbing, or simply walking the dog. If just 50 people took part and donated only £5 each, the total amount would pay for a specialist clinic for anyone in the community with heart or respiratory problems to get the care, advice and medication that they need.’

To get involved, simply text OUTSIDE to 70085 to donate £5 to Blythe House Hospicecare, and tag posts on social media #GoOutsideDonateFive.

Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text OUTSIDENOINFO to 70085.

You can also donate online via our website.

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:

 

Staff and volunteers at our charity shop in Chapel-en-le-Frith are urging local people to stop unloading items outside when the store is closed.

Since the High Street shop re-opened after lockdown on Monday 15th June, it has been inundated with kind donations from local residents who have been taking time to have clear outs during the government restrictions.

The shop teams, made up of staff and volunteers, have been limiting donation times to certain days, due to the amazing amount of items that have been given over the last few weeks.

Despite display signage politely asking people to not drop off donations outside of opening times, dozens of people continue to leave items in the shop’s doorway or on the pavement.

Marie Brown, Retail Manager, said: ‘We are so very grateful for the fantastic donations that we have received since we re-opened after lockdown – these items are helping us to raise thousands of pounds for local hospice care – supporting people affected by life-limiting illnesses in our community.

‘Over the last few weeks though, I have regularly come to open up the shop in the morning, or after a weekend, to find mounds of items piled up outside the door or on the pathway. We haven’t had the best summer so far, so more often than not, the items are soaked through after heavy rain.

‘Due to current government restrictions, we have to quarantine all donations for three days before we’re able to be sort them and put out for sale in our shops. Wet or damaged items cause us issues with storage and hygiene, as well as the safety of our staff and volunteers.

‘We politely ask that you please do not leave donations outside the shop – this is classed as fly-tipping and is a punishable offence. My volunteer team and I are so eager to help you with your very kind donations, when the shop is open.’

To check or ask any questions in advance, please do not hesitate to call the shop in advance on: 01298 814587.

Andrew Foreshew-Cain became a Blythe House Community Volunteer in summer 2018, and since then, has provided practical support and companionship to hospice patients and their families, including respite care and gardening.

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Andrew has continued his vital role in the community, as one of 48 volunteers providing essential care and support to local patients, as well as those who are vulnerable, lonely or isolated.

Here, Andrew explains more about his volunteering role…

‘I became a Community Volunteer back in 2018; I was looking for a way to give back to the local community, and everyone spoke so highly of Blythe House and the work it does that it seemed to be the natural place to go. I had been baking for the monthly coffee mornings for a little while beforehand, which I very much enjoyed, but decided that a less personally fattening way forward was perhaps wise!

‘I trained up to be a Community Volunteers, working with the ever cheerful Julie and Vicci [Forrest and Wild, Community Volunteer programme staff team]. The training was thorough and interesting and answered a lot of questions and concerns. I then spent the summer sitting with a patient whilst his wife went out for a break each week. It was so easy and enjoyable and his wife was so appreciative.

‘I also helped out with a few gardening jobs – in one place in a garden already so immaculately kept that I was worried I would mess it up, but the owner clearly felt that the usual standards had slipped. It made my own attempts at gardening at home look rather shoddy, and inspired me to try a little harder!

‘I work in Oxford in term time during the week, so was away when COVID-19 kicked off. I came back at the end of March and responded to an email from the team. I have a couple of regular things to do each week – shopping for person in Whaley Bridge and checking in on an older resident in Chapel. Both are simple and rewarding to do and seem to be really appreciated.

‘I’ve also done a bit of running around doing deliveries and so on, as and when asked. But I find you have to be quick off the mark – a need is posted and people are right on it and support offered. I decided to limit what I offered to once or twice a week to give others the chance to do something so I do not sit on the computer looking of things to do.

‘I am always happy to respond to a direct request, which has happened a few times and the team are great in understanding when it’s not possible. I am back to work off furlough now and spending a lot of time taking part in online meetings, so sometimes it isn’t always possible to help. But that is always understood and any help offered seems to be appreciated.

‘The thing I have enjoyed most about volunteering during lockdown is the simple reward of being able to do something, when it feels at the moment that we can’t do a lot in the face of the challenge that is facing society. I’m not a doctor, I am not a nurse, I am not a teacher or a worker in a shop or in a front line service delivery role – it would be too easy to sit at home and feel useless but volunteering for Blythe House means I can do a little bit to make life easier for people who are having a hard time and help support the community around me.

‘There’s huge kindness around, and the stress of these weeks seems to have released people to be consciously kinder in response to the stress. Simple things like people saying thank you and smiling as we dance around each other as we pass in the street, trying not to get too close. The staff at the entrance to shops helping make the delays of waiting to enter more bearable and the wonderful way organisations like Blythe House but also the local smaller shops and companies have responded in imaginative ways to offer deliveries and make life a little easier. Of course there are grumpy people around, and certainly at the start some of us didn’t behave very well but that seems to have faded and we’ve rediscovered something in this period that I hope we keep: how local community is important and local shops and organisations are the backbone of the country.

‘Right at the start of lockdown, I was asked to go shopping for one person, and went to the butcher to get some meat for them, including some ham that was clearly stated on the list. When I got home I put the bags down and popped out to get something else on the list only to discover on my return that my cat had discovered the ham and made off with it. I had to go and get a replacement from the local supermarket as the butchers had shut. I was not asked to do that person’s shopping again!

‘I’ve also had some lovely conversations with one particular person – he’s well into his 80’s and has lived in Chapel for years and knows loads of history. His house is ancient, and he pointed out that the path outside the house that I was standing was built on a culvert that had been a stream until the 1950’s – and that the people in his house had grown watercress in it for themselves and to sell locally. You’d never know to look at the street and houses now that it had been such a different place then. He has also told me more about Morris dancing and thinks I have the legs for it!

‘I’m also involved with a group called Tea and Chat in Chapel, for older local residents. In more normal times we meet monthly for a chat and a chance to catch up with each other; old friends reconnecting and having a laugh. We’ve set up a Zoom group and meet virtually every Friday, which is a lot of fun but we are very much looking forward to life beginning to return to normal and being able to see each other again and share a cup of tea face to face.

‘I’m a Church of England minster – so I am also hosting prayers every evening on Zoom and a short service online on a Sunday morning. Both are meant to be for students and staff from my college but mostly seem to be “attended” by Chapel locals. It’s a bit odd, but we’re also able to reach people who haven’t been able to get to Church for years but can now pray and feel part of a community of friends. There’s a lesson there for us as we come out of lockdown that we mustn’t lose.

‘Overall, people have been very kind and appreciative, even for the smallest things that take so little out of my day but make a big difference to the lives of the people I am seeing. It is rewarding – and humbling. As always, I am pleased to be part of the Blythe House team; it is a good place to be.’

The reception, porch, downstairs toilets and a bathroom area at Blythe House are undergoing a major transformation to ensure the building is accessible to all visitors. Read the full story.

The video below showcases service information during the ongoing pandemic, and some staff give a tour of new facilities in the building.

This gallery showcases photos as works were ongoing:

 

 

 

A leaflet filled with advice and guidance about palliative and end of life care is being distributed across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales to support primary care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Janet Dunphy, CEO at Blythe House Hospicecare, has drafted the document to offer advice and support to local colleagues, who may be experiencing more conversations about death and dying due to the current situation.

Janet, who has over 35 years of experience as an end of life care specialist, said: ‘Originally I devised the leaflet with care home staff in mind, but having written it, I hope it will be beneficial to colleagues across the healthcare sector during the current times.

‘I just wanted to share some useful phrases that I have learnt over the years of working with dying people and their families. The leaflet has advice on having difficult conversations and answering tricky questions on subjects including what to expect when someone is dying, as well as medication and treatment issues. There is also some mental health and well-being guidance, which could not be more important now. I sincerely hope local healthcare professionals have and will find the leaflet helpful.’

Dr Louise Jordan from Baslow Health Centre said: ‘Both clinical and admin staff at the surgery have found the leaflet to be incredibly useful; we have downloaded and printed further copies from the hospice’s website. Not only do I believe it’s valuable to healthcare staff, but members of the public may find it of interest, especially during the unprecedented times we find ourselves in at the moment.’

Read and download a copy of the ‘thinking of you’ leaflet.

Throughout this week (11-17 May 2020), Blythe House Hospicecare is commemorating Dying Matters Awareness Week, and inviting you to open up and start the conversation about death and dying.

Dying Matters explains: ‘Talking about death doesn’t bring death closer. It’s about planning for life, helping us make the most of the time that we have. However, starting the conversation, particularly with those close to you, is never easy. We don’t want to upset people, or sound gloomy. Still, families commonly report that it comes as a relief once the subject is brought out into the open.’

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to have these discussions with our loved ones. Subjects you might like to talk about include:

  • The type of care you’d like towards the end of your life
  • Where you’d like to die
  • Funeral arrangements
  • Your will
  • What you’d like people to know before you die

Janet Dunphy, Blythe House CEO, says: ‘It is a good time to have those sensitive and really important conversations about what matters…’

Watch Janet’s video now:

Throughout the current situation, our hospice team is providing advice and support to hundreds of local patients and carers about the COVID-19 pandemic. Louise Furmston, our community engagement manager, explained: ‘The current situation has heightened issues around dying. We have seen a definite increase in isolation and losses, compounded by coronavirus. Patients and carers are feeling overwhelmed and are finding it difficult with the loss of 1:1, face-to-face support at the hospice. We have been there to advise local people with questions including about end of life concerns.’ Find out more.

Many people have turned to arts and crafts to occupy their mind over the last few months. This Dying Matters Awareness Week, we have thought about a number of creative ideas you could set your mind to, to keep busy and help you to think about death, dying and bereavement:

  • Create your own, mini ‘before I die’ board.
  • Why not stitch, knit or sew a heart or rainbow to let someone know you’re thinking of them and you are there if they need to chat. Download a free rainbow of hope pattern.
  • Have a go at designing your own coffin! Perhaps you don’t want a standard wooden box – maybe you’d like it to be bright yellow, or painted with seaside huts as a reminder of your favourite holiday destination! You might like a different material like wicker or bamboo! Whatever your ideas, get them down on paper and share them with your family.
  • For hundreds of ideas around getting creative to support grief and bereavement, including painting rocks, making a memory lantern and creating a remembering ornament, visit Pinterest.

Find lots of helpful resources including leaflets about supporting bereavement; talking about dying; and things to do before you die, on the Dying Matters website.

A nighttime walk organised to raise vital funds for hospice care in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales is set to get the whole community glowing when it returns next year.

Our Glow Twilight Walk was due to take place on Saturday 18th July 2020, but following recent Government measures, and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty, this year’s walk is being postponed.

The hospice has worked with event partners and the venue over the last few weeks, and is delighted to announce a new date for the 10k event: Saturday 15th May 2021.

Janet Dunphy, Blythe House Hospicecare CEO, said: ‘Obviously this is not the decision we wanted to make about our fantastic Glow Twilight Walk. The event in 2019 was our first ever, seeing hundreds of people don fancy dress and glow sticks to light up the night in Buxton and raise over £20,725 for hospice care and services.

‘We were incredibly excited to host the second annual event this July, and though we are optimistic that the situation in the UK will have improved by then, we are no longer able to spend the coming weeks working closely with event partners, volunteers, suppliers and of course our dedicated hospice supporters, making the Glow Twilight Walk a reality.

‘We sincerely hope everyone will come together to join us on Saturday 15th May next year, to get their glow on and have a fantastic time with loved ones whilst raising money for end of life and palliative care here in our local community.’

If you have already registered for this year’s Glow Twilight Walk, your place will be transferred automatically to the new date in May 2021. If you cannot make the new date, you would like a refund, or if you have any queries, please email: events@blythehouse.co.uk.

Blythe House Hospicecare healthcare assistants continue to support palliative and end of life patients in the local community during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. If you would like to make a donation to support hospice services throughout this time, please visit our donation page.

Follow Blythe House on social media to stay up to date on when registration for next year’s Glow Twilight Walk will open:

The coronavirus pandemic is understandably leaving many of us feeling worried and anxious about the future. We have put together this web page to collate helpful advice and information about looking after yourself and your mental well-being during this uncertain time. It will be updated regularly with new content, and we hope that you find it helpful.

Linda Brady, one of our counsellors, has recorded some simple meditation practices which you can enjoy in your own time.

  • The first is a three minute breathing exercise
  • The second is a meditation for feeling as safe as you reasonably can
  • The third is a grounding exercise that you may find useful

Linda has taken the time to share some ideas to help you stay connected throughout this time. She explained: ‘We know many of you will be missing the physical connection between you and your family and friends – that face-to-face contact that we often take for granted.’ Read Linda’s advice now.

Linda has also highlighted support available from Action for Happiness. She said: ‘They produce monthly “coping calendars” which suggest actions that we can take to look after ourselves and each other. You can sign up to get each month’s calendar sent to you. There’s also an app for mobile phones that might be helpful.’ Visit the website to find out more.

Ann Burgoyne, who usually runs a weekly mindfulness meditation class at Blythe House, got in touch to offer a breathing practice called the ‘3 minute breathing space.’ She explained: ‘It uses a short acronym AGE to help remember how it goes. We use this sometimes to start our Wednesday evening meditation group at Blythe House.’

Pause whatever you are doing, eyes can be open or closed…

  • 1st Minute – A – Become Aware of the activity of the mind (thoughts, thinking, etc.), feelings and sensations in the body
  • 2nd Minute – G – Gather the awareness in to rest on your breathing and each breath as it happens
  • 3rd Minute – E – Expand your awareness out to notice the whole body and the space around your body.

‘Notice how you are at the end of the practice and if you feel you need to calm a little more simply rest your awareness on the next three breaths, breathing right to the end of each of the outbreaths. At the end of the third outbreath, let go and allow the breathing to gently settle back into it’s natural rhythm and move into the rest of your day. Do this as openly as you need or wish through the day.’

  • The Wellness Society have published a free Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook to help manage stress and anxiety during this period of global uncertainty. Download it for free now.
  • There are lots of free meditations readily available on YouTube to help support anxiety, worry or stress. Search here.
  • The Mindfulness Association is currently offering a free daily online meditation, 7pm-7.30pm, followed by a chat until 8pm. It’s a great way of getting a sense of connection to others.
  • Two well-known apps Headspace and Calm are both offering free content at the moment including meditations, soothing music, sleep exercise and stories.
  • Look out for online exercise classes that are being offered by personal trainers and gyms – including yoga, Pilates or more intensive workouts.
  • Enjoy a walk in the fresh air, whilst practicing social distancing.
  • Turning a mountain into hills – a useful article by Charlotte Walker who considers what she can and cannot control throughout the pandemic, and explains: ‘I hope it inspires you to think about your own mountain and how you could come up with your own version of more manageable hills.’
  • Tolerating uncertainty – by Carol Vivyan’s may be useful. She explains: ‘When we are anxious, we tend to over-estimate the danger, and the odds, of bad things happening, and we under-estimate our ability to cope if or when those bad things happen. Even if the odds are really small that a bad thing will happen, that tiny chance is enough to really upset us. We call it “intolerance of uncertainty”.’
  • Coronavirus: How to look after your self-care in these uncertain times – a very useful article from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
  • Mind have information on their website if you are worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. Find out more.
  • Helpful content including videos about emotional health and well-being during this time, from Derbyshire County Council.
  • Catherine Serjeant, art therapy coordinator, said: ‘The arts are a wonderful solace in times of trouble. So many times, I have heard people say how you forget all your troubles while being absorbed with crafts and arts. Now every morning I’m absorbed with an pictorial diary. I’m painting, drawing, collaging, writing.  You don’t have to be brilliant at it, just have a go and learn to laugh at yourself. How about keeping a diary of all the cooking and eating you’re doing including drawing or painting, crayoning, printing. If you find your taste buds have gone or you’re not feeling like eating, write or draw your frustrations… ‘the Frustration Monster!’ The ‘What If Monster’ is another idea to portray. It could perhaps be a 3D structure! Use stuff out of your garage or shed. Keep a scrapbook. Weave a wall hanging. Print with potatoes or just let your pencil have a wonderful doodle!’
  • Future Learn has courses available to help you manage your own mental health and support others who are struggling during this time. Find out more.

Other helpful articles: