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St Barnabas House launches Bed to Bath Appeal

Wednesday 10 April 2019

St Barnabas House is appealing to its supporters to help give hospice patients the chance to have something we all take for granted: a bath.

Sam Bennett

At St Barnabas, the Care Team understands how precious bathing is to many people. The hospice has five dedicated bathrooms that have amazing, specialist baths.

Sam Bennett, Head of In-patient Services at the hospice says, “For many of the people we care for, a bath at home simply isn’t possible. Conditions like cancer, motor neurone disease and other life-limiting illnesses mean getting in and out of a bath is completely impossible or so uncomfortable and painful it’s not worth bothering with.

“I know, having a bath doesn’t sound like a particularly big deal. But, it’s the thing that many patients tell me they miss the most. If they would like one, a soothing bath is something we’d like to offer every patient who comes into the hospice for care.”

“If you’ve had to go without for years, having a bath again can be a wonderful and emotional experience. So many family members tell us that the highlight of their loved one’s stay with us was the time they had a bath.”

“Our problem is that, even with our knowledge and experience, there are still some people we struggle to get in and out of our baths – patients who are just too frail or in too much discomfort to use our existing hoists or chairs. But now, there’s new equipment on the market that will make it possible for us to offer a perfect bath experience to almost every patient who comes to the hospice.”

“We are reaching out to our supporters to ask if they might be able to help us lift the quality of care and experience for our patients even further and help us to buy some more specialist equipment that will make it possible for patients to leave their bed and have a bath.”

“We need specialist ‘roll and move’ sheets to help our patients get out of bed easily and smoothly – each set costs £111 and we need 15 of them. New slings, exactly right to take pressure off our patients’ skin as we move them, will cost £238 each; we need three of each size – small, medium and large. The sling fits to a new hoist that will help transfer our patients from bed to bath in comfort and dignity – this will cost £2,700. And finally, we need five padded bath chairs – one for each of our specialist baths – that will keep our patients comfortable in the right position while they relax in the bath – these will cost £5,572.”

The hospice recognises that these specialist items of equipment are expensive but is hoping that people might be inspired to club together to buy an item between them. For example, three people each giving £37.00 could buy a set of specialist sheets. Or, 100 people giving £55.72 would enable the hospice to buy one of the amazing bath chairs patients will need.

Sam says, “These are the items we need to allow us to take people from their bed and into the bath with dignity – and with as little discomfort as possible. I’ve seen the pleasure on so many faces of people as they’ve been lowered into the warm water for the first time in ages. Their expressions turn to surprise and joy – and, with your help, I hope to see many more such expressions this year. Thank you.”

It costs £6.5 million each year to run the hospice and only 21% of that amount is state-funded, meaning the majority has to be raised through voluntary donations from the local community in the Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield areas.

If you would like to read the full appeal, or wish to make a donation, please visit www.stbh.org.uk/bed-to-bath-appeal