Butterfly Hospice work ‘not over’

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MORE than a decade of dedicated community fund raising has established a first rate end-of-life care facility for the people of Lincolnshire.

But the work is far from over for the Butterfly Hospice, in fact, its team of staff and volunteers say they need the community’s support now, more than ever before.

Although the Boston-based hospice is continuing to work towards offering much needed palliative care for patients with life limiting illnesses and their families, it is yet to be awarded the necessary NHS contract to begin its work and so, for the time being at least, it lies dormant awaiting its first patient.

Chief executive Judi Byrne said: “The community has already done a fantastic job to get us to this stage but now we need to keep up the momentum and to begin working with other health providers.

“We all agree this is a much needed facility, but recent changes in the NHS have delayed discussions, which is why we need to show how much public support there is for the hospice.”

Newly appointed Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson hopes that by supporting the charity in his mayoral year, he can help Judi and her team achieve their vision.

Having worked as a non-executive director for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Coun Anderson is well aware of the problems in providing suitable end-of-life care and the vital need for facilities such as the Buttefly Hospice in Lincolnshire.

“Skegness has a growing elderly population and yet public services are being withdrawn everywhere, which is why I’m supporting the Butterfly Hospice this year,” he said

“We need to get the community behind us to get this much-needed facility up and running as soon as possible.”

Throughout its gleaming corridors and homely interiors, Skegness’s generosity in support of the facility is evident in the form of entire suites and treatment rooms donated to the hospice.

Skegness mother Sandi Adams spearheaded a relentless programme of fund raising to help create Nick’s Room - a suite devoted to the memory of her son, who sadly died from kidney cancer at the age of 23.

A lack of palliative care facilities at the time of Nick’s illness meant he passed away in a hospital ward with the dying wish that his mother campaign for better end-of-life facilities for his fellow sufferers.

More than half of Lincolnshire’s end-of-life patients currently die in hospital, often with little or no privacy - a statistic which the Butterfly Hospice aims to remedy.

Although the government’s end-of-life care strategy now supports more people wishing to die at home, Judi believes that can still be a traumatic experience for the patient and their family and feels more should be done to support them.

“The public perception about dying at home is that it’s all about passing away peacefully surrounded by your loved ones but in actuality, dying can be far harder than is portrayed,” she said.

“There’s a large gap between what people need at the end of their life and the choice that’s available to them.”

And just along the corridor from Nick’s Room, a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy bath is ready after the team at Lowndes toy store in Skegness raised a staggering £11,000 from their fund raising activities.

Anne Roberjot-Roberts and Sally Hobbins hosted charity variety nights and numerous other events to reach the phenomenal target, which has provided the equipment, capable of lifting patients directly into the bath, to help them benefit from its therapeutic uses.

But the Butterfly Hospice won’t just offer quality clinical care to assist palliative and end-of-life patients, it will also be a much needed and often overlooked respite resource for the family caring for those patients.

“The role of a full-time carer if often misunderstood,” said Coun Anderson.

“With the public sector withdrawing, most of the caring is done by a patient’s immediate family - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“That is an awful lot for anyone to cope with, so facilities like these are essential to give those carers some much needed respite.”

Coun Anderson aims to raise enough money in his mayoral year to provide the charity with a new Luton van to assist its fund raising activities, house clearances and supplying its charity shops.

To support the Butterfly Hospice with donations, offers of volunteering, venues for fund raisers or shops willing to stock butterfly lapels and wristbands contact Coun Anderson on 01754 767396.

To learn more about he charity visit www.butterflyhospice.com.