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Cambridgeshire hospice seeks service users to help improve care for local families

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A hospice is asking friends, family and service users of its palliative care and bereavement support to get in touch to help improve the care it gives.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice supports families from Peterborough, Stamford, Rutland and parts of Cambridgeshire from its specialist inpatient unit in the city, alongside virtual day services, hospice at home care in Peterborough and a family support service.

To help improve its services, the hospice is launching a new service user participation group in the New Year, and hospice staff are keen to hear feedback from families who have been supported by the hospice.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough.
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough.

Susan Shackleton is head of clinical services at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. She said, “The people we support are at the heart of what we do and we are committed to ensuring that everyone who accesses Sue Ryder services is listened and responded to so that they receive high quality, personalised care.

“Our service users have a unique contribution to make as they are experts by experience in addition to the other skills, qualities or knowledge they have. We want their voices, experience and support to shape and direct our activity.”

The hospice hopes the new group will help shape the support it gives, inform recruitment of staff and result in service users working alongside hospice staff to develop new services too.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough (54024074)
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough (54024074)

Jacky Stewart’s husband, Ken, was diagnosed with throat cancer in April 2015 and received support by a Sue Ryder hospice in 2016.

Since then Jacky has been a staunch supporter of Sue Ryder fundraising events and she has also assisted with the appointment of a new doctor for her local Sue Ryder hospice by sitting on the interview panel.

Jacky said, “I just owe Sue Ryder a debt that I will never be able to repay. When they called and said they were interviewing for a doctor’s position and would I like to come and help, of course I said yes. I’ve retired from the Police Force where I have been staff for 33 years. I have interviewed police officers, specials and control room staff for the force so I have a lot of experience.

“We interviewed four candidates in one day and I would say I used a mixture of my professional knowledge and my personal experience of the hospice. Part of you is considering whether, as a service user, you would want that person standing in front of you delivering bad news. It’s a case of finding the balance.

“Having service users helping with this kind of decision-making is really interesting but I think it might depend on where you are in your journey. I’m five years down the line from losing Ken so for me it was nice to be able to contribute in this way. I would love to do more - I felt like I was really making a difference to the hospice.”

Susan is keen to hear from anyone who wants to find out more about joining the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice - service user participation group. She said, “I would love to hear from anyone who has experienced care from Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice who is interested in finding out more about joining the group. We’ll be meeting virtually from February every six weeks and you will receive a very warm welcome.”

For more information on joining the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice – service user participation group, email thorpehall.reception@sueryder.org or call 01733 225900.

For more information on Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/thorpehall

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