I am currently film-maker in residence in Strathcarron Hospice. It is an amazing place. This area is not wealthy, but the local community go out and raise huge amounts of money so they can care for their elderly and for those who are terminally ill. It’s close to Glasgow, and maybe that’s where the humour comes from! And oh wow, can these folk sing! And last week we started dancing, bringing in choregrapher Malcolm Shields (previous life as dancer with Scottish National Ballet), and we filmed dancing dinnerladies as they served puddings on the ward, and then daycare patients discoing to Iain’s amazing DJ set. Iain was signed up by EMI aged 15. He had not DJ’d since he got ill, but last Friday he showed he can still set the room on fire!
The hospice is surprising on so many levels – over 40% of their patients go home. I wish people didn’t have a shudder of fear when they hear the word ‘hospice’ – I know I always thought it was a death warrant. But it is the opposite. I love their motto: more life in your days!
Strathcarron Hospice cares for people with illnesses that cannot be cured including cancer, respiratory and heart conditions and neurological diseases. They are a charity providing free specialist palliative care to people in NHS Forth Valley, and to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth in NHS Lanarkshire.
They work wherever it is needed. This may be within the hospice in Denny, but also in patients’ homes, in the local hospital Forth Valley Royal Hospital, in care homes and community hospital settings. Care is also extended to families and carers. To keep delivering care to those that need it the most, Strathcarron has to raise around £3.5 million each year.
Most of their patients remain at home and they offer a full range of community services and Day Hospice activities, not just care for inpatients. Over 40% of patients go home from the Hospice having had help with their symptoms. They don't just care for patients with cancer – about 20% of patients have other life limiting conditions.
Hospice is not a place, it is a philosophy of care that values each individual and helps them put life into their days rather than days onto their lives. They care for families, not just patients and this care does not end when the patient has died - bereavement support is available for families. Strathcarron Hospice enhances the quality of life and dignity in death.