2016 GSK IMPACT Awards: The Shakespeare Hospice

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Part of GSK IMPACT Awards

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  • Posted:Thursday 12 May 2016

A Stratford-upon-Avon-based charity supporting adults and young people affected by life-limiting conditions.

The Shakespeare Hospice provides a range of services for patients and their families, including advice and physical, psychological and spiritual care. It offers a 'Hospice at Home' model, including 24-hour care by nursing staff. Its groundbreaking 'Transition Service' supports young people with life-limiting conditions moving from children to adult services.

What the judges said:

A charity providing essential support for people with life-limiting conditions. Its work with young people moving from child to adult services is particularly important and commendable. The organisation is a model of good practice, working in a vital area.


The Shakespeare Hospice is particularly impressive because it’s taken hospice care beyond the walls of the traditional hospice. They’d support people in their own homes, in their own beds.

We serve the population of South Warwickshire and Kenilworth and the North Cotswolds. This is our headquarters but essentially our services are about community outreach. We have 400 amazing volunteers who help us to support all the services, all the activity across the hospice.

The first thing you notice when you walk into somewhere like this is the homely feel, just the people being so friendly as well. It didn’t feel like a hospice or a clinical place.

We had an end of life care report in South Warwickshire in 2009 that told us a lot of people would want to be cared for at home towards the end of life and we also asked our health and social care professionals what did they want from their hospice. We very quickly came to the conclusion that we were not going to invest in in-patient bed. We were going to invest in a very robust hospice at home service.

They employ really experienced staff, qualified nurses rather than healthcare assistants, so the expertise is well respected.
National and local statistics tell us that around 80% of people would request home to be their preferred place of care. Unfortunately in this area only about 29% of people realise that choice.

Our hospice at home service is unique. The twilight service is an early evening into the night service. We have ensured that registered nurses are accessible, either on the telephone or for visits when patients need them.

It has actually reduced the need sometimes for people calling people out overnight and we work very, very closely with the local district nurses and they’ve found it really, really beneficial.

When I first stepped in when I knew I’d got cancer, it was comforting to know, especially when I left, they assured that they’re only a phone call away and they could be back.

The other work that’s really impressive at Shakespeare is the work that they’re doing with young people who are facing a serious illness themselves.

The move from paediatric care to adult care is really scary for people. We are the only hospice in this area who have a bespoke facility for transitional care.

The transition service aims to provide healthcare to young people between the ages of 16 and 25. Having to manage the complete spectrum of care was becoming hugely more difficult, so we needed to have other services that could help us. No organisation has done it in the way that Shakespeare has.

It’s great because you hang out with same people that have got different interests and to get to know them and see what they do and stuff like that.

It’s essential that we have feedback from our patients and carers and anybody who uses our service. We strive to continually improve the service that we offer. We also feel that training is very important and currently we’ve trained 85 teachers and also 15 mentors who are counselling support workers who also work with the youngsters. In the past years, we’ve had 20 visits from different organisations. We’re sharing ideas. We’re sharing good practice.

Shakespeare are leading innovation for hospice care and we can all learn from their example.

We don’t see them as outside our system, they’re within our system alongside the NHS and providing a great service.

With the way they treat you, with respect and everything, when things do get rough, they will be there every inch of the way to help me.

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