Rotherham Hospice

Debunking the stereotypes about giving

There are many stereotypes about charitable giving which persist despite the evidence being very much to the contrary. One is that Scottish people are stingy, and another is that people on lower incomes give less to charity.

Thankfully, analyses of charitable donations tend to debunk these - I say thankfully as I am from north of the border and am eager to see the end of that particular stereotype! But what I see happening in Rotherham demonstrates how ridiculous the second stereotype, which has also been repeatedly discredited, is as well.

Studies have shown, not just in the UK but in many developed nations, that although individuals on a lower income do, as can be expected, give significantly less to charity on average than those on higher income, the proportion of their income given is far higher: 3% of income as opposed to the 1% that higher earners give on average. This is much more meaningful than quantity as it is a measure of generosity; a minimum wage earner giving £50 to a charity is clearly sacrificing more than a higher wage earner who wouldn't think twice about spending the same amount on a bottle of wine.

In a town like Rotherham, where the majority of people are on lower incomes, you'd expect local contributions to be on the disappointing side. But the reality is quite the opposite: we see such a lot of consistently generous giving that we are able to create fairly robust budgets on the back of it!

So we'd like to thank the generous people of Rotherham for bucking the stereotypes, and for supporting us and taking part in our events with such enthusiasm and persistence. We hope our new website will make it easier for people to give, and with our lottery now online, we also hope that your generosity will lead to you winning some of it back!

Putting your ducks in a row before it's too late

In the last blog post I talked about dementia and the urgency with which we have had to adjust to the growing number of patients suffering from it. In this one I’d like to offer a perspective on the need to prepare for the possibility of a disease or accident that may render you incapable of making decisions for yourself.

It’s easy to assume that none of us will ever be in this situation, but the reality is that we could well be in the future.

You can act early to make things easier/clearer for the people who might care for you later on. Advanced Care Planning involves learning about the types of decisions that might need to be made, considering these decisions ahead of time, and then letting others know about your preferences.  They are your decisions about the care you would want to receive if you became unable to speak for yourself, and are based on your personal values, preferences and discussions with your loved ones.

It is common for people already suffering from a life-threatening or debilitating illness to write an Advance Care Plan.  Patients receiving hospice care are encouraged to think about this.

For those patients who have been assessed as lacking mental capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment, it is important to acknowledge that decisions must be made in their best interests to find the “least restrictive alternative”. For these patients, who require admission to the Hospice Inpatient Unit, joint decisions will be made with family members and professionals providing care and treatment. In some cases this may also require an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate to help families with decision making.

The main message I would like to leave you with is that the preparation that is carried out in advance could make a huge and very positive difference to the quality of life of each patient and the families and carers that support them.

If you would like more information please call Diane Keeley on 01709 308900 or ask us a question via email.

Dementia: a modern challenge for Hospices

Dementia is the disease of the modern age.  Hand-in-hand with the wonderful reality of increased life expectancy comes the fact that people are now living to an age where dementia is more likely to develop. The numbers of patients in the UK being diagnosed with different forms of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common, is increasing at around 10% year-on-year, reaching 371,244 in 2014-2015, in line with the growth in the number of older patients. Thousands of cases also go undiagnosed and early age-onset dementia is becoming more common. These are worrying statistics which make research into dementia treatment ever more urgent.

At Rotherham Hospice we are seeing more and more patients with end of life conditions who have dementia. Our staff face new challenges in supporting and caring for these patients - however, our person-centred approach to care ensures these patients receive the most appropriate care possible. We understand it can be an emotionally and physically draining experience for patients, families and carers.

We know very well from our experience that there are no easy solutions to this ongoing challenge. Our staff are embracing the challenge by considering how they can make a individual difference for each of our patients with dementia, and how they can contribute to their quality of life. Our Hospice staff will be supplementing their good practice with training to help support patients with the difficult situations caused by dementia, and by giving informed and practical advice to family and carers.

But the main message we would like to give to family and carers is this: ‘you are not alone’. We are all too aware of how challenging caring for someone with dementia can be and there are ways to that we can help make things easier for you.

We are always here to help in whatever way we can, so please ask any of our staff or volunteers if you need assistance, advice or just someone to talk to.

If you would like more information please call Diane Keeley on 01709 308900 or ask us a question via email.


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