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With an increasing ageing population, hospices like ours can’t reach everyone who needs our care and, for the majority of people it will be their GP, and their teams, that look after them at home at end of life.

When this care is high quality, planned and consistent, patients and their carers benefit, and – thanks to the Daffodil Standards, a free resource introduced earlier this year by the Royal College of General Practitioners and Marie Curie – there’s clear guidance with simple steps that are helping hardworking GPs and their practice teams of nurses, receptionists, healthcare assistants and pharmacists work more closely together and make simple yet effective changes that benefit people whose time is running short.

Experienced GPs and healthcare professionals helped to develop the standards, making sure they fit into the work these teams are already doing, rather than adding to their workload.

Quite simply, the Daffodil Standards help the whole practice team to spot areas for improvement and build on the good care they already provide.

It’s not about ticking boxes, but building the confidence of staff and a compassionate culture, recognising when someone needs support earlier, and sensitively involving patients and their families in their care.

Life is precious, and better support in this area for patients means they can focus on enjoying the time they have left rather than worrying about how to get the care and support they need.

Read more at the standards here.

Always an annual highlight, our popular Open Gardens season once again delighted crowds of visitors between late March to mid-September, bringing in vital funds to help us keep delivering our much-needed service for patients and their families.

This year’s season was extra special, being the tenth in its history! And from it’s opening at spectacular Gnaton Hall on Mothering Sunday – which raised over £5,000 – to its close at beautiful Bowringsleigh Gardens, it provided many enjoyable, inspiring days out across Devon and Cornwall for green-fingered gurus and those who simply wanted to take time to smell the roses.

In honour of a decade of Open Gardens, this year’s brochure cover design was kindly created especially for St Luke’s by our Patron, much-loved artist Brian Pollard. The original painting was then raffled in aid of our charity, raising over £3,500 and with the lucky winner being from Harrow Barrow, one of the villages that participates in Open Gardens.

With its winning combination of gorgeous gardens big and small, picturesque walks and plant sales, plus the raffle, this season has raised £44,028 for our charity, bringing the total raised through Open Gardens’ ten-year history to over £370,000 – a blooming fantastic total that is making a big difference to those we care for at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit.

Such is the popularity of our horticultural extravaganza that garden owners are already signing up for our 2020 season, with 18 gardens confirmed, including two newcomer village walkabouts, at Shaw Prior and Halton Quay Gardens. Look out for another bespoke design for our brochure cover, too – Kingsbridge artist Jennifer Cooper is kindly doing the honours!

Wayne Marshall, Community Fundraiser and Open Gardens Co-ordinator, said: “What’s so fantastic about Open Gardens is the way it brings communities together in a big team effort to proudly showcase their lovely gardens for such a special cause. From the garden owners who generously throw open their gates to welcome visitors to the big-hearted bakers who create the delicious cakes on offer, I never cease to be encouraged by the swell of support I see for St Luke’s.

“A huge thank you to everyone who ensured our tenth year was such a big success. We really appreciate everything you do.”

Located on the eighth floor of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, with offices just outside Brent Ward, is our busy Hospital Team providing bespoke care for patients at end of life and supporting the families around them. They are there seven days a week, across every ward, with the core team made up of two doctors, six nurses and administration support, while the extended team includes a chaplain, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and welfare rights officer.

Recently, the team has been joined by a new colleague, Specialist Nurse Becki Harris, so we spoke to her about her role, what it means to be part of the team, and what motivates her to want to make a difference at Derriford.

Becki, who is from Bristol, moved to Plymouth two years ago, attracted by our beautiful coastal location and the quality of life here. She worked as a Chemotherapy Nurse with Healthcare at Home, looking after private patients with cancer, which is when she first witnessed St Luke’s in action as our team is involved in the care of these patients at times of crisis. It was seeing the way they work and the positive difference this makes that fuelled her desire to work for our charity.

Becki said: “As part of my nursing degree I studied aspects of palliative care, and my dissertation looked at the different experiences of patients at end of life – those in hospital with no palliative care teams and the extent to which their dignity was maintained compared to those being cared for at home by a team with end of life expertise.

“Then, working as a hospital nurse, I saw for myself that when patients received bespoke end of life care it had such a positive impact, not just on them but on the loved ones around them, too. This is so important because a negative or traumatic experience can really stay with families long after, hampering them in all sorts of ways and making it more difficult for them to come to terms with their loss. Meanwhile, those who see their loved one receiving compassionate specialist care from a team that has the time to explain things and put them at ease find it incredibly reassuring have more peace of mind. This helps them, both at the time and going forward because their lasting memories are so much more positive.

“I was delighted to secure the job within the team at Derriford, and everyone has been so welcoming, from the doctors to the admin staff.

“The name St Luke’s is so loved and respected, and I feel incredibly privileged to be part of the team at the hospital, helping to remove some of the fear and anxiety people feel at such a challenging time.

“I love problem-solving and getting to the heart of what matters to those we look after. Sometimes, just a five-minute conversation with a patient or their relative can make the world of difference to them and it all helps to change their view of what it’s like to be in hospital.”

Becki is so enthusiastic about our charity and what we contribute to our community that she has been making things a family affair, enjoying Elmer’s Big Parade with her boyfriend’s young niece visiting from Leicester and giving her mum – who works in a hospital in Bristol – an pin badge to attach to her lanyard, which has sparked conversations with others.

This young nurse is also willing to quite literally go to great lengths to raise money for St Luke’s – she’s set to take the 15,000ft plunge from a plane when she skydives in aid of us next year!

Cyclists of all ages are getting set for one of Devon’s boldest and most popular charity challenges this autumn, the Tour de Moor.

The annual event – now in its tenth year – takes place on Sunday 13 October, raising funds to help us continue our specialist end of life care for terminally ill people, helping them to live well to the end.

Sponsored by Print Copy Scan, a local supplier of printers and copiers, the challenge in the rugged wilds of Dartmoor offers cyclists the opportunity of an adrenalin-packed adventure: the hill-filled 52km mixed terrain route of mud, sweat and gears. Cycling at its fiercest for those aged 12 and above!

Alternatively, participants aged 9 and above can take it down a gear and saddle up for 23km of tough riding over hills and through woods, and there’s also the ‘mini moor’, a gentle 11km ride along the tarmac paths of Drake’s Trail that’s suitable for all the family.

As well as Tour de Moor providing for every level of cycling ability, the money it raises means our highly skilled team can give not just expert medical care but also emotional, practical and spiritual support to families at the most vulnerable of times, whether their loved one is being cared for at home, in hospital or at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.

Head of Fundraising, Penny Hannah, said: “Tour de Moor is always a terrific day. It’s fitness and muddy fun, and with three routes to choose from, it’s ideal for both families as well as more experienced cyclists who really want to push themselves.

“Taking on the challenge is a great opportunity to get on your bike and help us provide vital care and support to patients and their families across the local area, making every hill climb worth that extra effort!”

Director of Print Copy Scan, Karl Welburn, said, “The calibre of the care St Luke’s provides is second to none, but we mustn’t take it for granted because none of us know when we might need it. As the only specialist end of life care provider in this area, the charity needs continued support and that’s why we’re proud to sponsor Tour de Moor again this year. All the money raised by people participating goes directly to patient care.”

The Tour de Moor challenge departs from 8.30am at Harrowbeer Airfield, near Yelverton, and finishes there.

Sign up for the challenge at www.stlukes-hospice.org.uk/tourdemoor or by calling us on 01752 492626. Registration costs £30 for the 52km or 23km route, and £15 for the 11km route.

A big-hearted powerhouse of a fundraiser, a selfless, long-serving volunteer and a woman who has helped countless families emotionally and practically during their toughest times were celebrated at last night’s Plymouth Community Awards 2019 – and St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth was the link between them!

The annual awards, which note the achievements of those who go above and beyond to help those in need across our city, recognised three of our ambassadors and we couldn’t be prouder!

Cuz Cusson, who lives in Mutley, was presented with a Special Recognition award in honour of his tireless fundraising for our charity. He’s the founder of Rockfest, the popular annual live music extravaganza that is well established in Plymouth and has now raised an incredible £100,000-plus for us in memory of Cuz’s much-missed mum Dot, who received our care.

Jeannie Norris, who is in her 80s, received a Lifetime Achievement award celebrating her amazing volunteering history with St Luke’s. She has exceeded three decades of giving her time and skills unpaid to help our charity shops provide a welcoming and helpful service for bargain hunters. And she’s still going strong there, with the energy and enthusiasm that comes from her passion for seeing our vital service continue.

Recently retired Janet Hearl, also received a Lifetime Achievement Award because for more than ten years, she went above and beyond in her work as our Bereavement Support Worker. She was celebrated for the immeasurable difference she made, coming alongside patients and their loved ones with understanding, empathy and solid practical advice at their times of greatest need.

Huge congratulations from us to all three – we couldn’t wish for better ambassadors and we hope you had a wonderful day.

Events

La La Choirs is proud to present their first big Christmas concert of the year raising funds for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth. They’ll be joined by one of the winners of the Devon Schools Choir Competition, Uffculme School choir, plus special guests.

Come along for an uplifting evening of music to kick off your Christmas with a bang and raise money for a fantastic local charity.

Tickets are available here or you can pop in to the St Luke’s City Centre Pop-Up Shop from 14 October.

BUY TICKETS TODAY

Expect double denim, failed Hammer Time attempts, Vanilla Ice haircuts and the greatest tunes by the likes of Ricky Martin, 5ive, Shania Twain, Blink 182, Britney Spears, Faithless Madonna, Prince .. the list goes on at I Love Amp’s outrageously fun 80s & 90s themed night.

Channel your inner Fresh Prince and access all the retro fun you’ll ever need with other massive ‘good time’ anthems thrown in for good measure all in aid of St Luke’s.