Many of us know of St Catherine's in Crawley, and have visited their Charity Shop in London Road! The Hospice is a Palliative Care Centre, offering people with progressive life-threatening illness the opportunity to live life as fully as possible, to die with dignity, and to provide support for those close to them. The Chaplain, Mike Neville, and the staff are trained to care for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each patient, their family and friends, whether in the Day Centre or as inpatients. We have recently heard from Mike that he now has some long awaited and much deserved assistance. This is from staff who were at the Marie Curie foundation in Caterham. This has closed recently and patients will now be treated at the Hospice.

Hospices are not funded by the NHS, so our support is vital. For the past two years, around Christmas-time, we have held a 'Tree of Light' service at St John's, in memory of loved ones who have died; and we hope to hold that again this year. Jenny Young has all the information.

Caring in the community

Four words which summarize the whole aim and driving force that makes St. Catherine''s unique in our community. Specialist professional care, but very special care, for patients with cancer, MND and AIDS, when curative treatment has failed to stem the onset. Care for those patients who prefer to stay at home. Care also for those for whom treatment can still provide control and comfort.

There is much, much more to our hospice, not least of which is the caring support for bereaved families and friends. As all this work continues to expand, costs escalate. Support is largely by voluntary donations. St. Catherine''s needs our help now.

Let us pray and thank God for the vision and drive of those who built the hospice, and the dedication, service and care of the staff totally committed to their patients. Visit their website here.

Representative:   Jenny Young

 

The Mission Team Reps are each allocated a month to promote their Charity or Mission. I have December as that’s when we hold our Tree of Light Service so it fits in very well. I usually write about the Tree of Light Service but I did that last month to ask for help etc. and a tree!!

So this month I thought I would tell you a bit about St Catherine’s, the work they do and how I have become a bit more involved.

I retired in 2010 and spent the summer months relaxing and slowly becoming used to not having to do things I didn’t want to do. By the time September came around I began to realise that I needed to do something more. I had a few contacts at the Hospice as the link person for St John’s, so rang and asked if I could help in any way as a volunteer. After a few forms had been filled in, references followed up and an interview, I was asked if I could help in the Fundraising Department. I did wonder what exactly this would entail but said ok and we agreed I would be there on Tuesdays each week. By this time it was October so my first task was to help with the Christmas cuddlies campaign. I won’t bore with the details but it involved making lots of phone calls, data entering, working on spreadsheets, franking post, mail shots etc. The staff are all friendly and helpful making me feel very welcome and I actually felt useful again! Since then I have helped in a small way with the preparation for many fundraising events throughout the year- far too numerous to detail here.

Many of you will know about the work of St Catherine’s – sadly some of you at first hand. If so, I am sure you will have been as impressed as I am at the amazing work the Medical Staff carries out. They work with the In Patients but there is also a Community Care team and a Day centre which they are involved with.

As well as Clinical care, patients have access to Counselling, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Welfare advice, a Lymphoedema Clinic and Complementary Therapies. These include: Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Relaxation, all of which help to improve Patients’ wellbeing.

What of their Spiritual wellbeing though – well, the Spiritual Care Team are there for that. They are led by Mike Nevill and Sue Clarke who are supported by qualified and experienced volunteers. St Catherine’s believe the role of spiritual care is to enable those living with illness to reflect on and find meaning in their experiences. The spiritual care team can help patients discover their own meaning, direction, purpose and answers, regardless of faith and belief.

Through providing an open, sensitive, listening ear and talking, the team can help patients and their loved ones achieve a sense of peace and understanding. People have their own spiritual needs and concerns and will use their own coping mechanisms in dealing with problems. The team will help to explore thoughts and feelings for example about things happening in peoples’ lives, relationships with others or questions about the meaning and purpose of life and their beliefs. They will not be “preached at” or pressured to accept anything that they are not comfortable with.

For practising Christians – they may wish to receive Holy Communion or prayers, perhaps with anointing at the bedside. This can be arranged with the patients own Minister or they can ask one of the Spiritual Care Team who will be pleased to pray with them. The Hospice does not have a Chapel because it is not a religious organisation. Instead there is a Quiet room offering peace and quiet for reflection or prayer, for people of all faith or none. Services of prayer and reflection are held weekly in the Quiet room.

Services are non-denominational, lasting about 20 minutes and are held on different days each week to allow Day Hospice Patients to attend if they wish. All are very welcome to attend.

I could go on and on about the work of the Hospice, the staff and volunteers ( about 600), Hopefully I have captured just a little but if you would like to know more, please ask me and I will do my best to help or find someone who can. Or you could look on the Hospice website yourself (www.stch.org.uk).

Jenny Young