There are 20 private Inpatient rooms within the new Hospice building (©Dennis Gilbert/VIEW)

Admission as an inpatient

On admission, each patient is allocated to one of two teams of nurses who will look after them for the duration of their first and all subsequent stays. This not only gives continuity of care but also helps the individual and their family to feel secure and comfortable.

After referral, admission to the Inpatient Unit at the Hospice is usually within 48 hours (depending on bed availability), and in the vast majority of cases, within a week. Patients are admitted for assessment, symptom control, rehabilitation and terminal care.

Upon arrival, either with family or friends or by a GP-arranged ambulance, a nurse from the ward will greet them, take them to the ward and help them to settle in. Once settled in, a doctor and nurse will discuss with the patient what their needs are, and if they have any concerns. They then start any medication or treatments. A doctor is available all day and throughout their stay. Inpatients and their families are involved in the decisions made about their care during their stay and after they leave the Hospice.

The Hospice aims to be a ‘home from home’ as much as is possible. Inpatients do not have to follow a set routine and they have control over what they do. The Hospice provides an opportunity for three cooked meals a day and a member of the kitchen team aims to visit each patient to talk over any specific dietary requirements they may have. Volunteer Home Makers are on hand throughout the day to make tea and coffee for patients and their visitors, and there are organised activities in the Day Hospice which inpatients are welcome to join if they want to.

The Spiritual Care team aim to visit all patients within 48 hours of admission, and Social Workers make contact with visiting family and friends to offer support.

One-to-one discussion is on offer to patients and family members. We are ready to help with any issue. If we cannot give useful advice or information ourselves, we will assist you in finding another source of help.

Discharge from St Michael’s

A Hospice Social Worker will be available to talk with patients who are being discharged home or to a nursing home. We can talk with you and your family about particular wishes and help you to identify particular needs. Social Services and the Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG) have a statutory responsibility to assess your need for care. The Hospice will make any necessary referral and our staff will work with you and the statutory agencies to organise necessary support for patients and families.

Practical assistance

We will help, or give advice and information, with such issues as housing adaptations, benefit claims, Meals on Wheels and rural transport. We aim to find local services close to home (such as personal alarms, sitters, help with cleaning, ironing and gardening) that is geared to relieving the family burden.

Around 50% of all patients are discharged to their homes or suitable accommodation. They may return to the Hospice several times and will be cared for by the same team of nurses each time.