ST Luke’s Hospice is celebrating a decade of taking its services out to people’s homes when they need them most.

Residents living with life-limiting illnesses in Thurrock have been benefitting from the Hospice at Home service for ten years this year.

It was launched in 2003 after a successful bid for cash from the National Lottery’s New Oppor- tunities Fund.

St Luke’s, based in Basildon, joined forces with the Southend-based SPDNS Nurse Care, an independent non-profit nursing service, and by working with other care providers the scheme was first piloted in Thurrock before it was extended to the Basildon borough.

Marilyn DeBatistta, from the hospice, said: “It is now greatly valued and one of the fastest growing services provided by St Luke’s.

“Hospice at Home does exactly what it says – we take the love and care as received in the hospice to patients in their own home, which is tailored to an individual patient’s and family’s needs, be that direct nursing care, psychological, emotional, symptom and pain management, respite or practical hands on help.”

About three quarters of Hospice at Home patients may never actually visit St Luke’s, but are still considered to be hospice patients.

Services such as bereavement counselling, social work, complementary therapies and physiotherapy services, as well as Lukes – a specialist counselling service for children and young people – are all provided in a patient’s or their family’s own homes.

Hospice at Home also offers an opportunity for someone to stay with a loved one so their carer can go to carer support group meetings.

Mrs DeBatistta added: “For patients who live alone and who may not need a nursing care we can offer a volunteer befriender who can offer the support a good friend or neighbour may provide.

“The aim of Hospice at Home is for patients and carers to feel supported and not alone.”

Qualified staff are on hand via a 24-hour telephone on-call service, seven days a week, to carry out visits. The whole team works together to avoid unnecessary admissions, enabling patients to stay in their own home if possible.

To get in touch with the team call 01268 273226.