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Letter to Editor: Can you help St Clare Hospice at Christmas?

Charity / Thu 5th Dec 2019 am31 11:39am

Dear Editor,

EACH Christmas our country’s vital services are delivered by dedicated nurses, doctors, firefighters, police officers – to name but a few. This is the same up and down the country, but I am writing to tell you about a small team of dedicated staff who, each year, give up their Christmas in West Essex, to make sure that those who need it have access to hospice care over the Christmas period.

I am the Medical Director at St Clare Hospice. I’ve been a Doctor at the Hospice for 20 years now and I’ve had the privilege of working on Christmas Day almost every year. It’s an honour to work at the Hospice on Christmas Day and I want to tell you why that is.

When we think of Christmas, most of us think of spending quality time with our friends and family – enjoying the sense of togetherness. However, when someone is nearing the end of their life, and is aware that it is likely to be their last Christmas spent with family, Christmas traditions become even more important.

As a Doctor at the Hospice, I choose to work on Christmas Day because I recognise that I have a responsible role within the team and I like to make everyone feel valued. I know that the nurses and volunteers work hard on Christmas Day, leaving their own families at home – and our patients and their families are often feeling low as they’d rather be spending the day at home. Therefore, I take it upon myself to make everyone happy, spreading Christmas cheer and good will. The nurses also do a wonderful job of making sure that everyone staying at the Hospice feels at home. They cater for everyone’s own personal Christmas-time traditions, ensuring that it is a special day to remember for everyone.

On the night before Christmas, the nurses will hang stockings in each of the patients’ rooms, organise Christmas dinner with our kitchen staff, and invite all of the patients’ families in to spend Christmas here at St Clare. Most years, we have families of 3 or 4 eating Christmas dinner together, but we’ve even had a family of 17 joining us before!

Our Hospice at Home teams also take gifts out to families who they are visiting on Christmas Day. Nothing is ever too much trouble for our Hospice teams, and we will do anything we can to make sure Christmas Day spent at the Hospice is just like any other Christmas Day for our patients and their families.

As a charity, St Clare has to raise more than £8,000 every single day to run our hospice services and we couldn’t do this without the dedication and commitment of all of our supporters and volunteers.

Anyone wishing to support us this Christmas can make a donation via our website: stclarehospice.org.uk/donate or call our fundraising team on 01279 773750. We are very grateful for any generous donation, particularly at this time of the year.

The support we receive is essential throughout the year and, as we prepare for another Christmas at the Hospice, I would like to thank all of the individuals and local companies who raise vital funds for us to deliver our expert care. Our supporters help us to make sure that Christmas Day is a happy and special occasion for the many local families we support throughout Christmas time, including those who may be staying with us on our Inpatient Unit or being visited by our Hospice at Home teams.

On behalf of my team and everyone here at St Clare Hospice, I would like to wish everyone in our local community a wonderful Christmas.

Dr Qamar Abbas 
Medical Director, St Clare Hospice

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