Dorothy’s Dream comes true to let terminally-ill patients stay at home

HELPING OUT From left, patient Judi Seall with daycare nurse Paula McLean, and patient Rita Sharp with Lesley Ann Morgan.    Picture: Malcolm Wells (111136-7989)
HELPING OUT From left, patient Judi Seall with daycare nurse Paula McLean, and patient Rita Sharp with Lesley Ann Morgan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (111136-7989)
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IT’S the news that so many people have been waiting for – Dorothy’s Dream is coming true.

Today the Rowans Hospice begins recruiting nurses for its new home service, which will support terminally-ill patients who choose to die in their own homes.

The Dorothy’s Dream campaign – a £1m fundraising drive to fund the home service – was launched in September and has so far raised £675,000 thanks to generous donations from readers of The News.

Now the hospice is appealing for everyone to help raise the remaining money which will guarantee the service can run for the next two years. It is then hoped the service will attract government funding and more donations to secure its existence permanently.

Ruth White, chief executive of The Rowans, said: ‘I appreciate how hard everyone has worked to make Dorothy’s Dream a reality and wish to thank everyone for all the support they have given and to The News for its fantastic support and coverage.

‘With your continuing support I hope that this service will attract sustainable funding to enable us to not only deliver this for the next two years, but also to develop a service that continues to thrive for many years.’

The home service, which will start in September, will consist of a team of 13 nurses who will supplement care provided by the NHS and social services and will work with other charities such as The Rosemary Foundation, which provides home care for terminally-ill people in the Petersfield area.

The nurse team will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire.

Nurses will provide expert, hands-on care for terminally-ill patients, and also support their families and friends. It’s estimated the nurses will care for nearly 300 families a year.

Judi Seall, who has terminal cancer and is a patient at the Rowans’ day care service, says the home service is great news.

The 65-year-old said: ‘It’s just unbelievable they’ve got this far. It’s fantastic they’re starting to recruit.

‘This service will give people a choice about where they want to die which is so important.

‘The knowledge of having the care you get at the Rowans at home, for myself and my family, is very comforting.’

Staff at the Rowans are also thrilled the home service is becoming a reality.

Lesley Ann Morgan, a nurse at the Rowans and the deputy manager for therapeutic day care services said: ‘Hospice at Home is a brilliant initiative because there are so many people who would like to be at home at the end of their life in familiar surroundings and to have that anxiety taken away from the family. Our nurses would feel privileged to be able to help and offer that support.’

Once the campaign got going cash came in

IT WAS an ambitious fundraising appeal – to raise £1m and launch a new service in a year.

But the Dorothy’s Dream campaign, backed by The News, had support from the very start and the donations have been flooding in ever since.

Immediately after the launch in September, the campaign got the backing of the trustees of The Rowans Hospice, who put up £250,000 charity reserve money to get the appeal going. The campaign then saw more than £10,000 in donations in the first fortnight.

Then came the amazing stories we covered, of dozens of fundraisers and donations, including the incredible anonymous donation of £250,000.

Fundraisers to date have included Come Dine With Us events bringing in thousands of pounds, and the Ruby Slipper Day which saw people wear red to raise money.

Individuals with connections to the Rowans also came up with their own sponsored events, including one which saw a patient dress as the Tin Man and scale the mast of HMS Warrior.

And more fundraisers are in the pipeline including the Wizard of Oz sing-along at the Kings Theatre in Southsea tomorrow night. To help call (023) 9223 8531 or visit rowanshospice.co.uk.