Hospice UK Awards 2017

Our Hospice UK Awards celebrate the innovative work and people in hospices and palliative care organisations across the UK.

Hospice UK Awards

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Hospice UK Awards are kindly supported by the National Gardens Scheme.

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) opens around 3,800 gardens of quality, character and interest to the public each year, to raise money for nominated care charities. Since 1995 the NGS has donated over £4.5 million to hospice care and are the largest funder of our work.

We are delighted to launch the 2017 Hospice UK Awards, celebrating the innovative work and people in hospices and palliative care organisations across the UK.

2017 winners

Innovation in Care: The West Hertfordshire Palliative Care Referral Centre

The West Hertfordshire Palliative Care Referral Centre (PCRC) is an innovative joint partnership between Peace Hospice Care, The Hospice of St Francis, Rennie Grove Hospice Care and Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. 

Launched in March 2017, it provides a single access point for all palliative and end of life care referrals in the region. It has helped make referrals to palliative and end of life care services much quicker and easier and improved patient care, enabling the right support to be provided to patients at the right time.

It has also reduced duplication for referrals and enabled better use of commissioned resources. Previously, the hospices involved had their own processes for taking referrals. Often someone seeking palliative or end of life care would contact each one of the hospices and also the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust separately.

The centre, which was commissioned by the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group, is aimed at new patients who require palliative or end of life care, but who do not need admission to hospital.

What the judges said: The project demonstrated how to consistently reach more people in more ways, through collaboration, coordination and organisation across hospice and NHS settings. “It provides an exemplar solution for all of us about how to work together and make a difference by coordinating effectively referrals to multiple providers across a region.” 

The judges noted that the project was well designed and evaluated, demonstrated sustainability and used an approach that could be replicated by other organisations. 

Innovation in Income Generation:  Rennie Grove Hospice Care

In February of this year (2017) Rennie Grove Hospice Care launched a new recruitment campaign with a difference across multi-media platforms called ‘Desperately Seeking Sam’. 

Their aim was to raise enough money to fund a Hospice at Home nurse for a year. The hospice wanted to create a memorable and catchy name for the campaign and wanted the name of the nurse to be non gender-specific to attract a broader audience. 

The campaign centred on the many attributes that make Hospice at Home nurses so special and the benefits they bring to the hospice’s patients and their families. 

It was widely promoted to the hospice’s key audiences especially corporate supporters, major donors and community groups, including through a video which helped broaden the campaign’s impact and reach. 

The campaign was three times more successful than any other led by the hospice at that time of the year, raising nearly £40,000 and attracting an audience of 17,768 on Facebook.

Once the hospice hit its fundraising target, staff were able to use the campaign to focus on recruitment more widely. The recruitment campaign was called “Do you know someone like Sam?”.

What the judges said: “Desperately Seeking Sam stood out and saw fundraising, communications and the clinical teams working together to make the campaign a success.” 

The judges liked that the campaign strapline ‘Desperately seeking Sam’ was able to be transformed for the wider recruitment campaign ‘Do you know someone like Sam?, with the result that ‘Sam’ came to life’ for so many people.  

Innovation in Volunteering: St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh

While developing a new organisational strategy in 2012, St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh embarked on an innovative project to develop volunteering within its governance structures.

The hospice created a new team of seven volunteers to focus on clinical governance. They each bring their own specialist knowledge, skills and experience to the hospice and their combined efforts have been described by staff as “extraordinary”.

Together they have developed new structures to report on the progress of the hospice’s five year strategy, established and managed its incident and accident reporting system and coordinated participation and feedback on its services.

This included collating You Said-We Did reports, ensuring that the hospice hears the voice of patients, staff and members of the public and actively responds to their views.

Their quietly challenging approach to supporting and raising standards of care is greatly valued by St Columba’s staff and the clinical governance team has proved an inspiration and catalyst for further development in other areas of volunteering within the hospice. 

What the judges said:
“A novel project in that the hospice had created a team of volunteers to focus on clinical governance, which is certainly replicable.”

The judges highlighted how the benefits of the volunteer team were ‘felt directly in people’s experience of the hospice’s services, and also indirectly through the transparency and robustness of St Columba’s governance structure’.

The judges noted that the volunteers had affected change across every team in the hospice and at every level.

Volunteer of the Year 2017: Graham Ellis, St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley
Graham is a highly dedicated volunteer at St Catherine's Hospice in Crawley, West Sussex, who has given his time for three and half years as a complementary therapist and also contributed in many other ways to the hospice’s work. 

During his time as a volunteer he has led meditation classes for patients and their families and staff at least three times a week.

Renowned for his “winning smile” and extremely helpful nature, he has had a huge impact on everyone at St Catherine's and his meditation sessions have greatly enhanced care provided by the hospice.

As one staff member said: "Graham’s generosity of spirit and time is gratefully received at his wonderful meditation sessions. Staff leave floating out on a cloud of calm serenity and stillness." 

Graham also supports St Catherine's Fundraising team and every Christmas morning dons his Santa suit to visit the hospice and deliver gifts to patients staying on the wards. 

What the judges said:”Graham’s work at St Catherine’s Hospice truly embodies the mind-body-spirit ethos of modern hospice care. His one-to-one and group sessions at the hospice are greatly appreciated by patients and their families and also staff. 

“With Graham’s support, they are able to find a sense of calm during a time of distress and make every moment count”. The judges noted how this service could be replicated by other hospices and how Graham and St Catherine’s are spreading the word through podcasts and other methods. 

Young Volunteer of the Year 2017: Nour Karkach: St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Eastbourne 

With his “special qualities” 17-year-old student Nour made a big impression on staff at St Wilfrid’s Hospice from the outset during his interview for its Young Clinical Volunteer (YCV) Programme.

And when they learned that he worked part-time as a lifeguard and had already carried out life-saving CPR, were confident he would be compassionate and resilient enough to deal with the emotionally demanding nature of hospice care.

Nour was initially unsure of whether medicine was the right career for him but his rewarding and memorable experiences as a volunteer at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and the valuable learning opportunities it presented left him in no doubt about his future path.  

He was one of six volunteers recruited for the YCV programme - a six month volunteer placement providing support for patients on the inpatient unit during a weekly evening shift.
Described as “the perfect ambassador” for the YCV programme, staff said that Nour exudes charm and friendly positivity and demonstrated early on that he understood the importance of person-centred care, treating everyone with kindness and respect. 

Since Nour graduated from the programme he has continued to volunteer at St Wilfrid’s in other roles.

What the judges said: “It takes maturity, compassion and guts to become a clinical volunteer at a hospice inpatient unit, as Nour did.” 

The judges said they were impressed to hear how this young man “threw himself into all aspects of his role, taking part in ward rounds, drug rounds and group discussions and also engaged his friends in conversations about death and bereavement.” 

Volunteer Gardener of the Year 2017: Rita Teed: Willowbrook Hospice

Rita is passionate about Willowbrook Hospice’s gardens and spends many hours pruning, planting and weeding in all weathers, especially in its three specially designed Japanese gardens which she keeps in immaculate condition.

The flower bed located right at the front of the hospice is her pride and joy. Crossing the threshold of a hospice is daunting for any patient but according to hospice staff, Rita’s work to create beautiful and surrounding helps make that journey a bit more bearable. 

The hospice gardens are winners of the RHS Northwest in Bloom Gold Medal and Rita has been a huge part of this success volunteering for over 25 hours per week during the summer months. This year the hospice gardens opened for the first time under the National Garden Scheme (NGS).

Rita is known for her natural ability to engage in conversation with a variety of people from different backgrounds. Patients and their loved ones are very appreciative of her hard work and her hugely valuable contribution to the work of the hospice.

What the judges said: 
“Rita has shown enormous commitment, creativity and passion during her time at Willowbrook Hospice. She has nurtured and cultivated the gardens and also a team of volunteers who join her in all weathers to keep everything shipshape. 

“The awards the Willowbrook Hospice gardens have garnered demonstrate the skills Rita has brought to her work. The pleasure that the gardens offer to patients and their loved ones is something we can only but imagine.”

Outstanding Contribution to Hospice Care 2017: Wolfson Foundation
This award is given to an organisation that has shown significant generosity and commitment over a number of years.  

Hospice UK has worked in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation since 1989 to support hospice care and it has funded a bursary programme with the charity since 2002.

Through this partnership, the Wolfson Foundation has funded a huge range of bursaries for people working in palliative care in the UK and internationally.

This longstanding investment in workforce development has helped promote excellence in hospice care and ensured those working at the frontline are supported and confident to deliver the best possible care for people at the end of life, as well as their carers and families.

The specialist knowledge and practical skills gained through attending courses have enabled hospice professionals to develop their skills and knowledge, including how to support new patients with complex conditions.

In 2017 there are two types of bursary available - one for hospice staff and one for care home nurses and healthcare assistants.

The education bursaries enable staff to attend events which will help them to improve the quality of end of life care for their residents, patients and families.

What the judges said: “The partnership between The Wolfson Foundation and Hospice UK is one of our longest and most valued supporters.  

“We have been overwhelmed by the dedication and generosity of the Foundation’s trustees and the support of their staff to hospice care over the years.  Their support really has made an incredible difference to Hospice UK’s work”. 

Anne Norfolk Lifetime Achievement Award 2017: Dr Marilyn Relf: Head of Bereavement, Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice, Oxford.

Dr Marilyn Relf receives this award for her trailblazing work as one of the UK’s national pioneers in bereavement care and for her exceptional commitment to palliative care during her 35-year career at Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice.

She joined the hospice in 1982, initially co-ordinating its volunteer service before leading its family bereavement service - one of the first UK services of its kind.

Dr Relf managed the bereavement service for 22 years, influencing and teaching hundreds of health and social care staff at the hospice. She also built relationships with providers and commissioners of health and social care in Oxfordshire, helping them to understand the importance and value of bereavement care.

Dr Relf, who retires from her position at Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice this year, is renowned for her scientific rigour in understanding issues and interrogating solutions, combined with a “wise, humane, compassionate and creative personality”. 

She was also Head of Education at Sir Michael Sobell House for 10 years. Her research, including her PhD, has made a significant contribution to understanding of bereavement.

She is currently Chair of the National Bereavement Alliance and has published extensively in research papers and books about bereavement care, including ‘Loss and Bereavement’. 

Dr Relf is also a founding trustee of the charity SeeSaw – a grief support service for children and young people.

What the judges said:  
“Dr Relf has been astoundingly influential at both regional and national levels in ensuring that bereavement support for families has become widely recognised as an essential component of palliative care. 

“She has made an enormous contribution to palliative care – her many achievements are truly remarkable and this award is richly deserved.”

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