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Ashgate Hospice > Hospice myths BUSTED by the people who provide our care
Plenty of people have misconceptions about what it’s like to visit, spend time and receive care at a hospice. As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week this year, our staff are here to debunk some of those myths!

Jane Jones, Head of Onsite Clinical Services

Myth: A hospice is a place you go to die

Caring for patients at the end of life only accounts for a small part of the work we do here at the hospice. Our work doesn’t only begin at the very end of someone’s life. We can help improve people’s quality of life soon after they are told they have a life-liming diagnosis, or at any stage of their condition. In fact, about half of our patients that come to our Inpatient Unit go home after receiving expert pain relief or symptom control.  

We also provide care for hundreds of people with a palliative diagnosis who are not nearing the end of their lives every year through our community services. Every service aims support patients with their individual needs by caring for their physical and emotional concerns 

Ultimately, accessing our services does not mean a patient has no more options for support, or an improved quality of life. The sooner we can support people, the more time we have to address their problems and ensure they’re as comfortable as they possibly can be.

Karen Walker, Ward Manager

Myth: Hospices are sad and depressing places 

A lot of people who visit the hospice – particularly our Inpatient Unit – often expect it to be a sad and gloomy place. From the moment they come through those doors, their opinion completely changes! We go above and beyond to ensure our hospice is a home away from home for our patients and their families who are visiting.  

The hospice is a warm and welcoming place for our visitors. From our beautifully decorated bedrooms with private access to our gardens to delicious homemade meals made by our catering team and taken to patients by our lovely volunteers and nursing staff – the comfort of our patients and their families is our absolute priority, and we go above and beyond to meet the needs of anyone staying with us.  

“It’s a very serious situation, but the staff are very upbeat and have a good sense of humour. It’s not a depressing place; the staff were very cheerful and in high spirits. It puts a smile on your face.” Supporter Stephen Griffiths, whose wife, Julie, was cared for on Ashgate’s Inpatient Unit.

Dr Sarah Parnacott, Consultant in Palliative Medicine

Myth: Only people who have been diagnosed with cancer can receive care at hospices 

We care for a lot of patients with cancer at the hospice, but around two in five of the patients we support are living with other illnesses. That includes neurological illnesses like motor neurone disease, as well as end-stage heart, kidney and lung diseases, Parkinson’s and much more. We do our best to tailor our care to meet the needs of everyone.

We are here for our patients at any stage of their illness to ensure they are well supported and cared for in the place of their choosing.

Hannah Botsford, Healthcare Assistant

Myth: A hospice must be a terribly sad place to work 

People often say this to me, but it couldn’t be further from the truth! When I first applied to work at the hospice, admittedly I was very scared! I thought it would be all doom and gloom – how wrong could I be?! It’s a much happier place than a hospital and we can offer care that isn’t accessible to patients in a hospital.

We get more time to spend with patients to talk and create lasting memories. Each patient has access to the gardens, even if they are bedbound, which I think is lovely. Ashgate has a special place in my heart as it cared for my grandad; it means the world to me!

Kelly Bartram, Registered Nurse

Myth: Only elderly folk are cared for at hospices

In fact, about half of our patients that we care for are younger than 65. Here at Ashgate Hospice we care for anyone above the age of 18.

Claire Shaw, Head of Clinical Community Services

Myth: To receive care I will have to physically visit the hospice building 

Our care goes way beyond the walls of our main hospice site in Chesterfield. In fact, most of our patients receive care in their own homes and care homes – we do what we can to help support our patients in their place of choice.  

Our Palliative Care Specialist Nurses, Palliative Care Support Workers and therapists work alongside other health and social care professionals to ensure patients are cared for in the best possible way.

We want our patients to live their lives as comfortably as possible and understand what choices they have regarding their care. We also ensure that our patients and their families have access to the practical help and emotional support they might need.

Lorraine Hall, Psychosocial Services Manager

Myth: Hospices only provide clinical care to patients 

Our teams on our Inpatient Unit and across the community work incredibly hard for our patients and their families, but our support is much more than just medical care. Our patients and their families often face very distressing and challenging situations, and we do everything we can to support them along their journey, both before and after bereavement. 

Our social workers – like our fantastic Julie – ensure our patients, families and friends feel listened to and more able to deal with what they are going through. Working alongside the social work team are our fantastic spiritual care practitioners and volunteer counsellors. They work with individuals to explore issues in a safe and supportive environment.   

The Supportive Care Service also has an amazing group of experienced and well-trained volunteers who support individuals both on IPU and in the community.  Our Children’s Service continues to develop, supporting children and young people deal with the distress and life-changing events surrounding terminal illness and death. Find a bit more about all of the services we offer. 

Rachel Broughton, Senior Corporate and Community Fundraiser

Myth: You have to pay for hospice care

Whether you’re accessing care on our Inpatient Unit or receiving practical support from our team of social workers – you won’t pay a penny. All our services are provided free of charge.

While some of our care is funded by central Government, we rely on our community for the majority of our funding to ensure we can continue to provide this service; our supporters raise an incredible £8.5 million every single year so we can be there for the patients and their families who need us. Find out more about how you can fundraise for Ashgate.