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Some common questions about the work of the hospice

How did North Devon Hospice begin?
North Devon Hospice was founded in 1981 by a small group of people who identified the need for specialist hospice care in the area. The first 3 years were spent planning and fundraising and in September 1984, we started caring for patients and families affected by life-limiting illnesses. Since then, the hospice has grown from the two up, two down terraced house in Vicarage Lawn, Barnstaple, to our present home at Deer Park in Newport and our outreach centre in Holsworthy, The Long House. All these years on, the majority of our care and support is still delivered in the homes of our patients.

What is the hospice like?
Visitors are constantly surprised when they walk through the hospice doors at Deer Park or The Long House for the first time. Instead of finding the cold and clinical place that they expected, they walk into a friendly, homely atmosphere where there is plenty of character and laughter. At our main site at Deer Park, the hospice is set in stunning grounds and people often comment on the panoramic views overlooking Barnstaple, the estuary and rolling hills. Over the years, the former gentleman’s residence has been extended to accommodate our in-patient unit, known as the Bedded Unit. At Deer Park you will find the Bedded Unit, Supportive Care facilities, the patients' lounge and dining room, the Terrace Café and complementary therapy rooms.  At The Long House, we offer supportive care services, such as one-to-one and group counselling sessions and complementary therapies.

How much does North Devon Hospice charge for its services?
All our services are provided completely free of charge. However, we rely on the generosity of our supporters to help fund our services, support and care.

What does it cost to run the hospice?
We need over £5.5 million every year to provide our care and support. The most up to date detail on our income and expenditure can be found in the latest Annual Review. We generate the majority of our income through fundraising activity, our charity shops and our hospice Lottery. Like most hospices, we receive a small amount of funding from NHS Devon but in the main we rely on the support and generosity of the local community to help us fund our care.

What types of illness does the hospice provide care for?
We provide care and support for patients with any condition which is ‘life-limiting.’ Although we are most well known for caring for people with Cancer, we also help patients with Motor Neurone Disease, Muscular Sclerosis, Heart Failure, COPD, Liver Failure, and Renal Failure.  Our care and support also extends to the family members and carers who are affected by someone's illness.

Does North Devon Hospice only help people who are dying?
Whilst our care is mainly delivered to people who are directly affected by a life-limiting illness, we believe in being there for all the family and offer support to patients’ loved ones including carers. We can provide care and advice from diagnosis to the final stages of a life-limiting illness.

Can I volunteer at the hospice?
Volunteers play a crucial role in the hospice and there are plenty of ways you can get involved. You could be interested in working in one of our charity shops, or maybe in helping behind the scenes in the administration of the hospice or you could be interested in supporting the care team. To read about different types of volunteering opportunities, please visit our Volunteering webpage or call us for more information.

What does palliative care mean?
Palliative care is the care of patients with a life-limiting illness and through this care, it aims to control pain, alleviate symptoms and enable the patient to have the best possible quality of life.

What services does North Devon Hospice provide?
There is a range of care and services available to people who are affected by life-limiting illness, and in support of their family. These include specialist care provided at home, at the hospice or in hospital, counselling and supportive care, as well as complementary therapies. Education and training is also provided to health and social care professionals who may be caring for those with a life-limiting illness.  More detailed information is available under our sections for patients and their families/carers.

How can I access hospice care and support?
Patients, carers and family members are referred to North Devon Hospice by a healthcare professional, commonly their GP/Consultant or a District Nurse.  If you would like to be referred to us, at whatever stage of your journey, please speak to your GP.

Are there doctors at North Devon Hospice?
We have a medical team based in our Bedded Unit at Deer Park, where they provide 24-hour care to people at the end of life and treatments for people needing symptom management. There is a Consultant, Doctors and Nurses, Medical Officers and Healthcare Assistants. The hospice medical team works closely with the primary health care teams and local GP practices to ensure care is in the best interests of our patients.

What help can North Devon Hospice offer to families, friends and carers?
Coping with a life-limiting illness can be a deeply stressful experience for the whole family. We offer support to patients, their families and carers, both during the illness and following their bereavement. There is a variety of support available, including one-to-one counselling, group sessions, self-help techniques, Complementary Therapies and specialist counselling for children.

How can North Devon Hospice help patients who are being cared for at home?
For many of our patients it is really important to them to stay at home, wherever possible. Our team of hospice nurses work throughout North Devon covering more than 60,000 miles a year to provide care and support to patients at home or in the place of their choice. We also have a Hospice to Home services which provides support for patients and carers throughout the night, when symptoms can be most severe.

What financial help is available to people with life-limiting illness?
There is financial support available and this is dependent on personal circumstances. Our nurses often advise our patients and their families on the financial support and assistance that could be available to them, and they work with other agencies to ensure people are receiving the right advice and information.