Supporting carers in these exceptional times. Carers Week is 8th-14th June #carers #caring #family #wirralhospice #patientcare #makingcaringvisible #thankyou

‘Carers’ are the unpaid army of family and friends who spend many hours caring for and supporting people with physical and mental illness and disability, above and beyond the services that statutory, private and/or charitable health & social care organisations provide.

The week of 8th-14th June is national Carers Week, with a rallying call of ‘Making Caring Visible’, it’s designed to raise awareness of the estimated 6.5 million people who have unpaid caring responsibilities across the UK.

HeatherWirral Hospice St John’s spiritual care coordinator, Heather MacLeod (a little more about her later), reminded me of these lyrics, famously sung by Celine Dion*, to capture all we contemplate during national Carers Week.

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you love me


Carers will often class themselves as, just, a wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, grandparent or other family member or friend. Their care comes from a sense of duty and a deep well of love.

We see this, close up, every single day at Wirral Hospice St John’s.

Supporting and caring for people with life limiting illnesses is at the heart of everything we do and, in order to really know our patients, to extend the care and support we provide for them, we also offer services designed to help their carers, practically, spiritually and emotionally.

In normal times we’ll see and work with carers in all of our settings, Inpatients, Outpatients, Wellbeing Centre (day services) and Hospice at Home.

Physio Room (1)The current coronavirus crisis, calling on all of us to limit direct contact and minimise all but essential travel, has inevitably altered our ways of reaching out to carers.

Early on in the pandemic even visiting in our Inpatients ward was severely restricted. We managed ways to allow a small number of closest relatives to visit loved ones by supplying face masks and other personal protective equipment and reinforcing hand washing and safety recommendations.

For the wider family we’ve been providing patients with electronic equipment, such as IPads, if they don’t have their own, so that they can see each other and chat.

james george conference poster

Although some of the patient and family services team are working from home (hello Suzanne and Co) they are set up to continue working with patients and their carers. Where we can’t meet with carers, which is in most services just now, we’re staying in touch through telephone calls and other electronic communications.

On Friday of Carers Week we brought an afternoon tea for the visitors to our inpatients to remind them how we appreciate their massive contribution to the wellbeing of their loved ones. Scones with jam and cream and a nice drink… mmmmm!

Hospice Reception (1)Enquiries about welfare benefits and signposting to emotional and psychological support, including liaison with other local agencies, while agreeing plans of action are still being handled by our professional social workers, James and Ann-Marie.

Emily Fozard. Counsellor

Bereavement counselling, facilitated by the most accomplished listener, Stella, also continues in what are especially psychologically distressing circumstances for families. (A mention here for our other counsellor, Emily, (pictured left) who is on maternity leave with all of our best wishes).

Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and exercise co-ordinators, Sarah, Miriam, Elizabeth and Tracy (hello to Katy also on maternity leave) continue to work with patients and source instruction videos for those at home with their families and other carers.

Aroma Therapy (5)We’ve had to suspend our aromatherapy service, provided in normal times by the most soothing and empathetic practitioner, Lindsey, because of the necessary close proximity of delivery. We look forward to restoring the service as soon as we can.

And, of course, the wonderful Heather MacLeod, (our spiritual care coordinator,read a little bit more about Heather here), is available to provide her heartfelt comfort and advice to people who are sometimes struggling to find meaning or peace in what are really the most challenging time of their lives.

To all those families and other carers of our patients, your loved ones, please know Wirral Hospice St John’s is here for you.

Hospice Nurses (1)

Author: Billy Howard

*Words to ‘Because you loved me’ written by Diane Warren © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management 

All photos taken pre-COVID social distancing regulations.



Sue Huntington’s #fashionshow in aid of Wirral Hospice – Wed 18 March 2015, tickets £10 call 0151 343 0778

wirral_hospice_sue_huntington_fashion_show_flyer_2015We are super excited to be working with Sue Huntington on her next fashion show! Having seen the excitement first hand at her previous shows, we are privileged to have been selected by Sue to benefit from the proceeds of her latest show.

Sue has the most amazing shop in Heswall and her fashion shows have a reputation near and far for launching casual yet sophisticated seasonal outfits as well as high glamour dresses and outfits for glitzy occasions and weddings. There’s always lots of oohing and aahing in the audience and people queue around the block to get into Sue’s shop the next day!

Sue’s fashion show will held in the stunning Walled Garden Marquee at Thornton Manor, Thornton Hough CH63 1JB. Doors will open at 7 for pre-show drinks and the show will start promptly at 7.30pm.

We’ve got some wonderful raffle prizes lined up for our guests to be in with a chance of winning. Unfortunately we can’t say too much at this stage but let’s just say, there’s definitely a designer handbag and an overnight stay in a plush hotel in there!

We’re hoping to sell 1,000 tickets for the night, which is a tall order but with your help we hope we can! Please spread the word amongst your family and friends, we’d love to see you on the night and we that know Sue would too. She’s been a long-time supporter of Wirral Hospice St John’s so she’s equally delighted to be helping us to raise a fantastic amount of money for our patients, their carers and families.

Please call the Fundraising Office on 0151 343 0778 Mon to Fri 9-5pm or email or to book your tickets, which are only £10 each. Really good value for a fabulous night out!

Author: Teresa Nightingale

Wirral Hospice patients and families get the red carpet treatment…

We were privileged to host a very special launch screening of our patient and carer film ‘What does Wirral Hospice mean to us?’ during July at Thornton Hall Hotel.  The film focusses on patients’ experiences within the Hospice, particularly the support they and their loved ones receive from Wirral Hospice St John’s.

The short film has been made free of charge for us by local production company, Insight Moving Images Ltd. It’s a very powerful film because it’s from our patients, their carers and their families themselves – its aim is to help to ease the fears and concerns of new patients referred to receive our care.

It was a very exciting and emotional evening, with our guests all dressed up to the nines – the hotel provided a red carpet and everything! Thank you to everyone involved in the project, both on and off camera.

Author: Teresa Nightingale

Jill Littlewood talks about our Inpatient Ward and the new build #familiesmatter


Jill Littlewood joined Wirral Hospice St John’s as our Inpatient Services Manager in January 2014. Prior to that, she worked for 22 years in the Chester community as a district nurse. Her special interest has always been palliative care.

Palliative care, which is the care of people suffering from an illness that cannot be cured, is an area undergoing huge change. Wirral Hospice is at the forefront of current thinking; patients are helped to manage their conditions so that they are comfortable and have the best quality of life possible.

Patients referred to its Inpatient Ward might only stay a few days whilst their condition stabilises and then they return to the comfort of their own home, with support being given to them and their carers through Hospice at Home care.

“From the moment people come into the Hospice as inpatients, we are planning for their discharge and how they can be helped and supported at home. It is a much more positive view than it used to be. Patients may be admitted in crisis, but then, with the benefit of the highly skilled and specialised care and support we offer, they will often stabilise and be able to return to their own home, which is of course where most people yearn to be.”

Jill considers the construction of the new Hospice building as crucial to the development of this wraparound care.

Read the rest of this entry »

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