Image of two St Barnabas hospice nurses meeting outside the hospice and sharing a joke

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What to expect when visiting a hospice

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What do you think of when you hear the word hospice? People often tell us that they expect a hospice to be a dark, scary, and depressing place, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. However, visiting a hospice can be daunting, no matter what your reason for visiting is.

Whether you’re coming to the hospice for the first time after a life-changing diagnosis, to visit a loved one, or for your first volunteering experience, it’s okay to feel apprehensive. We want you to know what to expect when visiting St Barnabas House, and hopefully settle your nerves.

It’s not like a hospital

When people visit the hospice, they often expect it to be just like a hospital ward, but it really isn’t. Yes, we provide end of life care, but that’s only part of what we do. Patients access hospice care for so many different reasons, from symptom management to physiotherapy, emotional support and much more.

It’s important to know that not all hospice care happens at the hospice, we also provide hands on care in patients’ own homes – day and night – through our Hospice at Home service.

Close up image of an older man in a blue jumper

What our patients think about the hospice

A lot of people find the hospice to be a very happy place, including me. It’s a place where you feel you are welcome and can talk to anybody. It’s very supportive - not only of the patients, but their loved ones as well.

What our patients think about the hospice

Had it not been for St Barnabas House, Dad may have had to spend his final weeks in a bleak hospital room. I was able to spend time at Dad's bedside, at his home, surrounded by the people and things he knew and loved.

It’s not a depressing place

It’s rare to walk through the hospice and not see a smile or experience something special. Inevitably, there are sad moments at a hospice, but the team work tirelessly to ensure that patients and their families enjoy their time and make as many memories as possible.

From our maintenance and gardening teams, to catering, fundraisers, counsellors and nurses, everyone at St Barnabas House is proud of what they do daily. Many of our teams describe being there for patients at their most difficult time as a privilege. We are really proud of the team we have built, and you’re bound to see countless smiling faces on your visit. You can find out what it’s like to work here from some of our hospice employees.

What our patients think about the hospice

Within minutes of being admitted, a specialist doctor managed my husband’s pain and for the first time in a while he was pain free. I cannot thank you enough – we joked it was like the holiday we never got around to having.

It’s not claustrophobic

The gardens are an important part of St Barnabas House – a place where patients, families, and staff can go to relax and reflect. We have some beautiful, tranquil outdoor spaces at the hospice, such as our courtyard area, also known as the ‘green heart’ which can be accessed from all the key areas of the hospice. And our pond, which many people spend time at, listening to the water trickle. All patient bedrooms look out onto the gardens, which are easily accessible – we can even take beds outside.

Image of a patient in a wheelchair

What our patients think about the hospice

As soon as you arrived at the door with your cheery hellos, we were all lifted. When my wife was still able to, she always had a little chat with you, whether it was about her hair, nails, or the many creams you lovingly applied

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