My name is Cindy Anderson and I’m Deputy Head of Adult Hospice Services at Northern Ireland Hospice. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine being anything else; to help people, to give them the reassurance that they’re being looked after by an expert team – it really is a privilege.
Caring for people with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses is often hard work, but in all my time as a nurse, I’ve found that it’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference. I recently looked after a young man whose wife’s greatest wish was to spend the time he had left cuddling him in bed, as she did at home. We had just purchased a larger bed that wasn’t yet fitted with a mattress, so I got on the phone and within the hour – with the help of some amazing local people – we had the bed completely set up. She then laid next to him, holding him during the final moments of his life; moments she’ll never forget.
This is what matters most – comfort and dignity, and time with the people we love; making every moment count.
When we built our wonderful new Hospice building a few years ago, it was designed to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible – while being the very best modern environment to deliver our specialist care. Our 18 bedrooms are bright and airy, with large double doors framed by lovely curtains, leading out onto a garden patio. Beside the bed there’s a comfy chair, a cabinet, TV – everything has been hand-picked to make the room homely and cosy. We want to make Hospice feel like home; it’s what each of us would want for those we love.
But, as time goes on of course, things get a bit worn and faded, some things break. Now, there are bedroom furnishings and specialist equipment that absolutely must be replaced.
What we require
So, here’s my urgent request for you today; please, could you help us to make each bedroom as homely and comfortable as our patients deserve?
The first item that we require is one of the most important in the entire Hospice – pressure-relieving mattresses. For many patients, having to spend so much time in bed means their skin can be very vulnerable, so it’s vital their bed here is incredibly comfortable. The mattresses we’d love to purchase are amazing – they adjust pressure automatically and gently move a patient, which is far less uncomfortable and distressing. These mattresses cost £1,250.50 each and we need two of these.
We also desperately need several new infusion pumps and syringe drivers to deliver the nutrients and medication a patient needs to alleviate symptoms like nausea and dehydration.
Then there’s the duvet, duvet covers and pillows. You see, people are used to having duvets at home, so we wanted to have them here too – the covers are a lovely shade of turquoise to match the decor. But the sets we need are a very high-quality to make sure they’re clean and safe for patients, as well as sturdy enough to withstand many washes – and it’s time to replenish our stock!
The final item is so important to the look and feel of a bedroom – floor-to-ceiling curtains. It might not seem like much, but they help the room maintain warmth and privacy – just like at home. We must have two sets for each room – that’s 36 pairs! They’re made out of heavy-duty, antimicrobial material, which helps prevent the spread of infection.
How you can help
Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the funds available in our nursing budget to purchase everything. It’d be amazing if you could consider a gift that might help us to pay for one of these items.
- If 50 kind people like you gave £35.12, that would be enough to purchase all the duvets, duvet covers and pillow sets we need.
- 25 gifts of £50.02 could help buy a mattress – and, if we’re lucky enough to receive 100 donations of £134.99, we’d be able to purchase an infusion pump and syringe driver.
I hope it’s okay that I’ve come to you for your help at this important time. Your support will deliver the home comforts that transform the experiences of our patients and their families, creating a calm, peaceful space where they can spend quality moments together. Our patients, I’m sure you’ll agree, deserve nothing but the best.
With warmest wishes,
Cindy Anderson, Deputy Head of Adult Hospice Services