The J’s Hospice celebrated the 5th anniversary of its ground-breaking ‘hospice at home’ service for young adults across Essex in October 2015.
The J’s Hospice provides enhanced care for young adults (aged 16-40) with life-limiting conditions such as cancer and a wide range of complex neurological and metabolic conditions. This includes tailored specialist nursing, respite and end of life care and bereavement support. The ‘J’s at Home’ service is the first of its kind in the country – supporting young adults and their families in the comfort and security of their own home – and it has received international recognition for this way of working.
The charity was set up in 2004 by Denise Whiffin whose son, Jonathan, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Denise realised there was a dire need for hospice and respite care when young adults outgrew children’s hospices and so, in October 2010, the J’s at Home service was launched.
Bev Barclay, Director of Nursing at The J’s Hospice, has been working at the charity for over six years and is proud of what it has achieved: ‘Over the past five years, 182 patients have been referred to us. We started out with only 3 patients and now we are looking after 99 young adults across Essex. We have also offered support to 32 bereaved families over the last two years.’
As well as medical care, the charity offers wellbeing services to help patients manage their conditions including massage, reflexology, counselling and family support. It also organises group activity days and runs the popular Inspire group where patients can get together and enjoy a range of activities.
This unique approach to caring for young adults with life-limiting conditions has led to the inclusion of The J’s Hospice in a prestigious international report called ‘Hidden Lives, Hidden Patients’, published by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance during Hospice Care Week.
The J’s Hospice is a charity that relies on volunteers and public support to continue its work: 70% of its funding comes from fundraising, donations and sponsorship.
Bev is delighted that The J’s Hospice has had such a positive impact on so many lives. She explained: “Hospice Care Week is focusing on the special role that hospices play in connecting people and that’s what we do at The J’s. One of our patients said that they had not talked to anyone outside of their family for five years before we started to work with them. We want to continue helping these young adults to live their lives to the full for the next five years and many more.”