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Telephone: 01704 544645
Address: Town Lane, Southport, PR8 6RE

As part of Queenscourt Hospice’s commitment to creating our own Compassionate Community, here in the North West, we have recently launched a new carers’ programme which offers support and friendship to those who devote their time to looking after others.

Compassionate Communities are created so that patients, their relatives, carers and local organisations can support one another in the face of advanced and progressive life limiting illnesses.

Our newly launched carers’ programme is in keeping with this ethos. The purpose of the new group, which welcomes carers into Queenscourt for a few hours of respite each week, is to introduce carers to each other and to help them to develop a network of support for each other.

The first week of the programme sees each carer invited to an hour-long introductory session where they meet one-to-one with a member of our nursing staff. During this time staff will assess the carer’s needs and discover what they want to get out of the programme.

Carers are given the opportunity to meet other carers and can take part in workshops with complementary health and creative therapists. Staff also work with the carers and can arrange for them to see a social worker or therapists on a one-to-one basis if required. Lunch is provided and is followed by a group relaxation session, coffee and then everyone goes home with a bouquet of flowers or something they may have created in one of the workshops they have participated in.

While they are enjoying some well-earned time off at the hospice, carers can relax in the knowledge that a member of the Queenscourt at Home team is taking care of their loved one.

During the patient assessment, the health professional may identify particular needs of the carer. These carers will then be invited to join the carers programme for additional support. There are usually only six or seven carers allocated per programme to ensure they get the full benefit of what’s on offer.

The two five-week programmes we have already delivered have proved to be a resounding success, with participants forging friendships and their own support groups as a result.

The carers’ programme is coordinated by Queenscourt Connect Sister, Cath Ainsworth, who said: “This is a new programme for us and we are getting a lot of satisfaction knowing we are providing such an invaluable service to carers.

“The feedback has been extremely positive. Coming to this programme makes people realise they are not alone and they can have support if they need it. Carers are also finding friendship. Some from the previous group have met up since and their support for each other continues.”

“This programme is a great example of how Compassionate Communities help to foster strong support networks. Whilst Queenscourt has instigated this initiative, we have found that carers continue to build relationships following attendance of the programme. Providing much needed support to each other as they look after their loved ones.”