National healthcare charity Sue Ryder, which runs Sue Ryder St. John’s Hospice in Bedfordshire, has launched an appeal asking people to make a donation to help families spend their final Christmas surrounded by love.
For many families, this Christmas is more important than ever after so many were kept apart by Covid restrictions last year.
But for thousands of people who have a loved one with a life-limiting condition or terminal illness in the UK, this might be the last Christmas they spend with those they love.
Donate at sueryder.org/donate/winter-appeal.
Every 4.5 minutes, someone in the UK dies without specialist end-of-life care
Heartbreakingly, many of these families could not be receiving the care and support they need, as figures show every 4.5 minutes someone in the UK dies without the specialist end-of-life care they need.*
This Christmas and during the year ahead, care teams at healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, will be going above and beyond to make sure families in their care make the most of the precious time they have left together.
Help someone spend their final Christmas surrounded by love
Through their appeal, Sue Ryder hopes readers will donate vital funds so people can spend their final Christmas surrounded by the things they love most.
Although Sue Ryder cannot give a person more time at the end of life, they work hard to make that time better. By allowing people the choice of where to spend their last days, by providing expert, compassionate care, by taking away the pain and the struggle and by supporting the patient’s loved ones every step of the way.
This in turn means more time for the family to hold hands, hug and have conversations that make sense of it all. It means more time to find peace and say proper goodbyes. And it means more time that can be filled with love this Christmas.
People like Hannah, who received support from Sue Ryder after Hannah’s dad, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November last year during lockdown.
Martin wanted to spend his final months at home with his family and that’s when the team from Sue Ryder stepped in.
Hannah said: ‘Without Sue Ryder we just wouldn’t have been able to have dad at home.
We had the help of a Sue Ryder Nurse who was absolutely brilliant.
‘We were fortunate to have the lockdown really as it meant we were all at home. It was only ten weeks from his diagnosis that dad passed away but we did get to have Christmas with him and it was also my 21st in December so he was there for my birthday too.
‘I remember on Christmas Eve dad took a turn for the worse and a Sue Ryder Nurse came out who was also absolutely fantastic. She was just so honest and reassuring.’
The end of your life is one the most important parts of your life
Martin died at home on January 18 with his family by his side. Hannah said: ‘The Sue Ryder Nurse came to sit with him afterwards so he wasn’t on his own and it was nice to know there was someone with him while we spoke to the family. Sue Ryder’s Family Support Team has also been fantastic and my main source of bereavement support.’
‘There’s no way that we can fully repay Sue Ryder for what they did for my dad and us as a family. The end of your life is one of the most important parts of your life and Sue Ryder helped us to get it right and have dad at home with his family as he wanted.’
Hospices are hanging by a thread
Sue Ryder’s plea comes at a time when the hospice movement in the UK, of which Sue Ryder is one of the leading providers, is hanging by a thread.
Hospices are facing immense pressures after years of government underinvestment, and now paired with workforce shortages and an ageing population; the sector is under significant strain.
And with the demand for palliative care expected to grow by 55% in the coming decade* Sue Ryder needs support now more than ever.
To make a donation visit sueryder.org/supportxmas
Your support of the appeal will mean Sue Ryder care teams can help people make the most of their final days together. Here’s how:
How Sue Ryder helps people make the most of their precious final days…
Expert medical care
Keeping someone comfortable during their final days takes training and experience. Sue Ryder care teams are trained to provide tailored palliative pain relief and offer personal care so that families can spend time together in the way that matters most: sharing memories, re-telling family stories and saying goodbye.
The process of dying takes its emotional toll on the individual and the ones they love. Sue Ryder teams make time for reassuring daily routines – a cup of tea in the garden or a favourite radio programme. They know that medical care shouldn’t crowd out feelings and emotional reactions and many nurses say half the job is simply being there for family and friends.
Sue Ryder stays through someone’s precious last days and continues to offer support after death too. Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Community is a safe and supportive space where individuals share their experiences and find others to relate to. Sue Ryder also provides online counselling with qualified therapists.
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*Hospice UK, 2017.
** All donations to this appeal will help give care and support where it’s needed the most, unless otherwise specified when you make your donation.