Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Derbyshire hospice announces new services and charity merger amid COVID-19 pandemic

BLYTHE House Hospice care, based in the High Peak, Derbyshire, is caring for more people across its community as it develops services and merges with another end of life care charity.

The volume of hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire has surged by more than 160% since Blythe House and fellow local charity, Helen’s Trust, joined forces back in April.

The need for 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 (stats from Hospice UK).

Stronger together

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, 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.”

Dr Louise Jordan, a founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, said:

“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.”

Community Hub launch

Alongside the fundamental partnership with Helen’s Trust, Blythe House Hospicecare has undertaken an essential service review to ensure it is supporting as many people as possible.

More people affected by life-limiting illnesses in the High Peak and surrounding areas are now set to benefit from extended holistic, palliative and end of life care after the hospice launched its modernised services and brand new Community Hub in autumn. 

A multi-disciplinary team, including nurses, counsellors, a physiotherapist and occupational therapist, will provide a range of care and services, including 1:1 and group support; complementary and physical therapies; education and support programmes; advice clinics; counselling and bereavement sessions, and outpatient clinics.

Hospice refurbishment

Pre-COVID, the board of trustees was already committed to a necessary refurbishment of the hospice building, to ensure its accessibility to all patients and visitors. As lockdown hit, the board decided to begin the important modernisation, to coincide with the launch of the new service model. Managed and co-funded by national charity, CRASH, the project is drawing on the professional skills, materials and financial generosity of the construction industry.

The work will see a brand new reception and porch area; modernised accessible bathroom facilities, and a refresh of patient areas including updated furniture and decoration.

Volunteer opportunities

Alongside the Community Hub, 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 programme, which sees volunteers provide support to local patients in their own homes with light tasks and companionship, is expanding into the Derbyshire Dales with Helen’s Trust.

Special Blythe House ethos

Janet Dunphy, CEO at Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust, 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.

“All healthcare services, including hospices, require regular review, developmental change is regularly needed to ensure that services are still fit for purpose, and financially sustainable. The last review of services at Blythe House took place a decade ago, so we needed to undertake this research and analysis of our current offering. 

“Our committed Board of Trustees has overseen and agreed on all of the exciting service revolutions; we have kept to our mission, charitable objectives and core functions, and ensured that every pound donated is spent wisely.”

Blythe House was founded in 1989 by Reverend Betty Packham after Stan Blythe 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.

Helen’s Trust was established in memory of Helen Lyon, who died at home in 2001, after being diagnosed with breast cancer.


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