Patients in North West Wales with life limiting illnesses have always received a high standard of care from doctors and nurses whether in hospital or at home. However, it was felt that additional facilities could be provided for those patients who preferred to end their days at home with family or friends. It was for this reason that the concept of the Hospice at Home service was first discussed in April 1989.
Half a dozen of us met to discuss the possibility of raising sufficient funds to provide a service which would allow patients who have a life limiting illness to end their days at home if they so chose. But ideas have to be backed with hard cash so we set about organizing various events and appeals under the chairmanship of Dr Jim Davies retired Principal of Bangor Normal College who did a tremendous amount of work for various causes in Wales.
To cover the anticipated costs, a target of half a million pounds was set and this was raised within two years with the generous support of the public. The concept of Hospice at Home became reality after a successful fundraising campaign and charity status was granted. The Company, which is limited by guarantee, was incorporated in December 1990. Once the target had been attained, Dr Jim Davies then went on to chair other fundraising charities. It was in the period that followed when Mr RHP Oliver a retired surgeon took the chair that the Hospice went from strength to strength.
The Acute Unit of the Gwynedd Health Trust as it was then, in association with the Hospice, recruited nurses in 1991 and after training in Hospice work, the first referrals were made on 5 January 1992. Ten nurses under a Nurse Manager were then responsible at the time for Gwynedd or Gwynedd & Anglesey as it is now.
Gwynedd Hospice at Home joined the North West Wales NHS Trust on 1st April 1996 and was led by a Consultant in Palliative Care, and a Nurse Team Leader with Hospice at Home Nurses working within the Department of Palliative Care alongside their medical colleagues, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. The Hospice nurses, who work in collaboration with the primary health care teams, Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses cover Anglesey and Gwynedd.
In 2002 Hafan Menai Day Hospice opened its doors providing a Day Care Service to the people of Gwynedd and Anglesey. Previously day care had been provided in social services accommodation. Initially the service was provided 2 days weekly but has grown over the years to the now 4 days now being provided.
Today the Home Nursing Service remains the primary function of the Charity with 80% of all work done carried out in patients own homes. The remaining 20% consists of the Community Complementary Therapy Service and Hafan Menai Day Hospice located in Bangor.
The Charity employs a small team of paid staff led by a General Manager ensuring that administrative costs are kept to a minimum. The Charity is further supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who assist in many roles.
The nursing costs are shared between the Charity and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Charity funds complementary therapy and the day hospice. Our income is generated from invested capital, sales at the Charity’s retail outlets, donations and legacies from the public, our lottery and through fundraising activity.
In 2012 the Charity celebrated 20 years of the Home Nursing Service serving the people of Gwynedd and Anglesey and today in 2014 this vital work continues.