Questions you might be asking

What is hospice care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are a hospice full of life!

We understand that coming to the hospice for the first time can be a daunting experience. Let us put your mind at ease and answer some common questions you might be asking - like what is hospice care?

What is the hospice like?

Every day we’re told we’re a hospice full of life! And we are. Drive up the lane and come inside the hospice doors, and you’ll find a bright and homely environment. We’re like one big family and our experienced staff are friendly and welcoming - they will have time to get to know you and your loved ones, and answer any questions you have. 

I imagine it as dark and miserable – is it?

No, it really isn’t. The building is bright, airy and - thanks to our wonderful housekeepers – immaculately clean. It’s welcoming throughout with lots of light and access to open spaces. We have beautifully kept gardens with many colourful flowers, plants and places to sit or play.  People often say, “does everyone just sit around and talk about death all the time?” No way! You will hear lots of laughter, people enjoying activities and their stay here. There are, of course, emotional times, and for those times we can provide you with a private space with staff always on hand for support. 

Keech is very comfortable, bright and colourful. It’s so different to what we expected.

Angie, mum to Ellie

What is palliative care?

It is about improving your quality of life, and relieving your symptoms whether these are physical, emotional, psychological, social, economic or spiritual. Palliative care is about empowering you to live better, for longer, with your life-limiting or terminal illness.

Health conditions that may call for palliative care include chronic lung disease, heart failure, motor neurone disease, non-curable cancers, multiple sclerosis and progressive supernuclear palsy. For more information on palliative care, visit the National Council for Palliative Care website.

Why am I at the hospice rather than a hospital?

As a hospice, we provide on-going, wide-ranging support that focuses on the whole person; we also extend our support to your family and friends as they too are going through a difficult time. All our staff are trained specifically in the needs of people who have a progressive condition and we offer very individualised care. We can provide a lot of the services and facilities of a hospital but pride ourselves on a more homely and welcoming environment. 

Do you offer care at home?

Yes, you have choices in where we support you: you can come to the hospice to make the most of our day services; our community team can come and care for you in your own home; or you can stay at the hospice at our adult and children in-patient units for short stays or end-of-life care.

Am I about to die/will I ever go home?

Being referred to Keech Hospice Care means you have an illness that is life-limiting, but it doesn’t mean you are about to die. Some adults and children are admitted to the in-patient units in the last days of their life, as the hospice is their preferred place of care. But most of our patients receive care in their own homes, at out-patient appointments, or for the day at the Keech Palliative Care Centre or with the children’s day-support team. Most children visit the hospice for play sessions during the day to give parents a break, but we do offer overnight stays, too. 

If I’m in pain, how will it be controlled?

We have a lot of experience in pain control and your pain management care plan will be based on a detailed individual assessment; we then consult you on the range of medications and non-drug therapies that can help. 

Can I leave if I want to?

Yes, if you are staying with us, you can come and go as you please.

Can I see my notes?

If you wish to see your medical records, please request this in writing, addressed to Elaine Tolliday, Clinical Director, and specify your time frame.

Can my family stay with me?

Yes, we have family accommodation on both the children’s and adult units, so families can stay at the hospice, too. They can even stay with you in your room if they choose. Meals are available for loved ones at a small cost from our restaurant, Valerie’s.

What are the visiting times?

There is no restriction on visiting times or numbers, but please respect other patients and take advice from the senior nurse on duty.

Is it OK for children and babies to visit me?

Yes, but again, please be aware of other people and take advice from the senior nurse on duty.

Is it OK for my pets to visit me?

Yes, we know that pets are an important part of people’s lives.

What outside areas are there?

We have large, accessible grounds which have a pond, seating and woodland areas. We also have a secure children’s courtyard with toys, and a quiet seated courtyard by our restaurant, Valerie’s. The Keech Palliative Care Centre has a garden area to enjoy with a greenhouse and raised beds, if you would like to help with the gardening. Every adult bedroom has access through patio doors to our gardens.

What activities are there for children?

For children who spend the day with us, we have a whole range of fun toys, sensory equipment and a multisensory room, eye-gaze technology, electronic games and TVs. We also have a playground outside with toys, and a play specialist to guide you.

What activities are there for adults?

Our Keech Palliative Care Centre has arts and crafts, TVs, electronic games, outside areas and gym equipment that can be used under the guidance of the physiotherapist.

I’m interested in the therapies you have – but what is music and art therapy?

Art therapy and music therapy are forms of psychotherapy, using art and music as a way of helping you to express yourself and communicate. 

What complementary therapies do you offer?

We offer a relaxing range of therapies for patients and carers including aromatherapy, massage, reiki, reflexology and mindfulness (a form of meditation).

Will I meet other people like me?

We care for people who have different backgrounds, illnesses, cultures, faiths and ages. You are sure to meet someone you have something in common with. 

Do you just talk about death all the time?

No way! We’re a hospice full of life! Of course, staff will answer your questions if you have any. And we have a whole team of people on hand to support you and your family before and after bereavement. We’re all about helping people to make the most of their lives. 

Can I smoke?

We have designated smoking areas for families and day patients. Patients in our in-patient unit may smoke on their patio.

Can I drink alcohol?

Yes, although we would ask you not to consume large quantities and let your nurse know what you are drinking in case it conflicts with the medicines you are taking. 

Can I follow my faith?

Yes, we have quiet areas for prayer and reflection; we welcome spiritual leaders and can accommodate any dietary needs. Please just let the staff know what is important to you.

What happens about eating?

We have a daily menu with a variety of options to accommodate all dietary needs and all meals for patients are free. Our restaurant, Valerie’s, is open to staff, volunteers, patients and families, which also has a vending machine.

Will I need money?

You may need a little for the shop at reception or the vending machine if you would like confectionery. However, all our services at the hospice are free to access.

Does the hospice have WiFi?

Yes, we have good WiFi access throughout the hospice - just ask a member of staff for the username and password.

Is there parking available?

We have free allocated parking on site for patients and families.

I don't drive. Can you pick me up?

We have a team of volunteer drivers available to pick you up if you cannot get yourself to the hospice. Please call 01582 492339.

How do I get to the hospice using public transport?

The nearest bus stop is adjacent to Great Bramingham Lane on Barton Road, which is served by the number 81 and 78 buses. These run between Luton town centre/Luton Station Interchange, Monday to Saturday. Please see timetables here for bus 78 and bus 81. Alternatively, call 01582 492339 for directions.

Can I contact the hospice out of hours?

Yes, you can call either the main number on 01582 492339 or the advice line on 0808 180 7788 to speak to a qualified nurse.