Cornish charity, Cornwall Hospice Care has this week published its annual Quality Account report, highlighting the work carried out at its two hospices in the last financial year.  It shows that from April 2014 to March 2015 the nursing teams at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell and St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle cared for 441 patients aged from 18 to 95. The charity’s Consultants also supported out-patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske and Cornwall Hospice Care staffed a 24/7 advice line for health professionals, which was funded by the charity.

It was another busy year for the charity with the nursing teams also providing 120 out-patient sessions at the hospices and meeting patients in their own homes on 72 occasions.  Dr Debbie Stevens is Cornwall Hospice Care’s Medical Director;

“The figures prove the value of our charity to Cornwall and to our patients and highlight the many ways in which we can provide our specialist care. For instance our Lymphoedema * nursing team ran 1,992 out-patient appointments in their clinics at the two hospices and cared for another 231 in-patients.  Our Consultant team saw 631 out-patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske and are an integral part of the hospital’s palliative care team, which provided 4,351 face to face contacts through the year.  We are also involved with the wider community health team, working together to enable patients to be cared for in a place of their choice, including their own homes.

I’m extremely proud of what we as a charity, have achieved in terms of care and support for patients, and their families, facing life limiting illnesses. The report also highlights the fact we are now the main employer in Cornwall of medical staff qualified in specialist palliative care, and that’s quite some boast for a small charity like ours.”

The Quality Account reflects on the wide range of the work being done by the clinical teams at Cornwall Hospice Care and is illustrated with pictures and quotes from people whose lives have been touched by the charity.  But as Paul Brinsley, Chief Executive of Cornwall Hospice Care, explains, it also warns of the financial struggles faced by the charity;

“We face a combination of pressure on income and increased demand for our services that means we have to be realistic about what we can provide in the future. The impact of a fall in legacy income, intense competition in fundraising and the dubious honour of receiving one of the lowest NHS grants in the country, creates a challenging environment for us.  Our grant pays for just 41 days of care at our two hospices, meaning we have to find the £7.5 million each year to fund the other 324 days.  It’s a tough and demanding job but the figures prove just how much our facilities are needed, care we are proud to be able to say we provide free of charge to our patients.”  

The Quality Account is published as the next chapter in the charity’s #HospiceStories project tells the story of Terri and Helen, Clinical Nurse Specialists based at Mount Edgcumbe and St Julia’s Hospices. Both are Lymphoedema nurses offering support to sufferers both as in and out patients.

* Lymphoedema is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes swelling in the body's tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs. Other symptoms of lymphoedema can include an aching, heavy feeling in affected body parts and difficulty moving them.  Lymphoedema is caused by a problem with the lymphatic system. This is a network of vessels and glands distributed throughout the body. Its major functions are helping to fight infection and drain excess fluid from tissues. Abnormal development of the lymphatic system, damage to it, and/or an increase in fluid in the body tissues can all lead to lymphoedema.

The Quality Account report can be viewed here
Terri and Helen's story can be seen below: