Blythe House Hospicecare is continuing to provide the highest levels of care and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illness, bereavement and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We are here to help and here to stay throughout the duration of the national lockdown and beyond. The hospice, based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, is providing services across the local community.

From July to September, the expert and compassionate team delivered over 3,100 hours of palliative and end of life care in the comfort of patient’s homes – with 98% of people dying in the place of their choice at home with their loved ones.

Usually face-to-face support groups for carers, people who are bereaved and those who are affected by prostate and breast cancers, have been taking place monthly via online platform, Zoom with an average of 12 attendees per session.

During quarter three, the counselling and bereavement team delivered over 120 support sessions for local adults and children, including 42 Covid-19-secure face-to-face meetings. Hospice staff also provided over 670 telephone or online support sessions.

Louise Furmston, community engagement lead at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘There has been huge concern and anxiety with patients who have experienced “multiple losses” as a result of both living with a life-limiting illness but also the limitations that the pandemic has enforced.

‘The impact of not being able to have human contact with family or friends, and not being able to access usual avenues of support, including visiting us at Blythe House, has been huge. Other worries include the uncertainty of when the situation might improve; the ever-changing guidelines; difficulties accessing healthcare services, or treatments being cancelled or delayed; as well as issues with managing symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue and breathlessness.

‘At Blythe House, whilst government rules have stopped us from undertaking our usual events and services, they would never stop us from providing the highest quality care, advice and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, COPD, heart failure and motor neurone disease.’

Alongside the staff team, the hospice’s dedicated volunteers have continued to go above and beyond to support local people affected by Covid-19.

Vicci Wild, community volunteer programme manager, said: ‘Our amazing volunteers continued to fulfil every request for support throughout July to September; 63 socially-distanced garden visits took place providing companionship to patients and support for carers. The team worked with people who were no longer required to isolate, by helping them regain their confidence to go out to run their own errands. As restrictions were tightened again, the team assured the community that the support from Blythe House will remain available.’

Janet Dunphy, hospice CEO, added: ‘As Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the hospice movement, once said “We cannot take away the whole hard thing that is happening, but we can help to bring the burden into manageable proportions.” That is exactly what we are striving to do here at Blythe House.

‘We are part of a community that is prepared to help; there is a strong culture of self-reliance in the High Peak, and the nurturing element of what Blythe House does is a direct reflection of the community that supports us. Together with district nurses, GPs and other local healthcare providers, we are able to wrap around those who need us. We know that to stay relevant, solvent and keep to our mission, we must stay together, work in partnership with others and embrace social change.  We are stronger together, clear of purpose and very proud to be part of the High Peak community.’

To access support during the ongoing lockdown, please: