A Q&A with our Head of Service Development and Innovation

From 10th - 14th October 2022, we're celebrating #HospiceCareWeek. Earlier this week we sat down with Victoria Gray, Head of Service Development here at Cransley Hospice Trust.

We believe that everyone deserves quality end of life care – whoever and wherever they are when they die. Hospice Care Week is a chance for us to raise awareness and highlight the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes.

Q: What do we mean by hospice care?

A: When we talk about hospice care, we all have a different understanding of what this means. Depending on the patient, hospice care can look quite different for everyone. Overall, it focuses on the care, comfort and quality of life of a person with a terminal illness, from diagnosis to end of life. The care provided puts a high value on dignity, respect, and the wishes of the individual, addressing their holistic needs. This takes into account their medical, emotional, social, practical, psychological, and spiritual needs, as well as the needs of the persons loved ones.

Hospice care is not a service restricted to one place, depending on the patient’s wishes, they can receive care within the hospice or in the comfort of their own home.

Some examples of the services provided at the hospice include:

  • Medicine Management
  • Pain and Breathlessness Management
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Wellbeing – including Complementary Therapies, Exercise, and Group support.
  • Spiritual Support
  • Respite Care
  • Bereavement Care

Q: Is it only cancer patients who receive hospice care?

A: No. This is quite a common misconception when people think about hospice care. Patients are referred to the hospice if they have a terminal illness or a long-term condition that cannot be cured (this is also known as a ‘life limiting condition’). Conditions that may benefit from hospice care can include patients with dementia, heart/liver and renal failure, respiratory conditions, neurological conditions (such as Motor Neurone Disease), frailty and cancer.

Q: What is your role at Cransley Hospice Trust?

A: Within my role, I am responsible for providing clinical and technical representation and contribution to the fundraising, executive team, and board of trustees. This means that I provide the clinical understanding and insight into the operational activity of hospice care for the county, based upon the analysis and monitoring of key information and regular correspondence with our colleagues in the services. Part of my role is to work with the Integrated Care board (ICB) in developing an End-of-Life Strategy that meets the needs of the individuals of Northamptonshire, this will progressively involve work with system partners to develop services according to the needs of the county.

Q: How did you get into this role?

A: I have been a nurse for 20 years and have spent the last 8 years working in Complex care and Palliative and End of Life Care. For 3 years I was the Head of Clinical Services at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice working with staff from within the In-house Hospice team, the Palliative Care Hub, Bereavement team, Wellbeing service, Consultant team, Education team and Lymphoedema service.

I began a short-term contract with Northamptonshire CCG as their Palliative and End of Life Programme Manager. My responsibilities within the role were as lead liaison between Palliative and End of life Care Services and the ICB (Integrated Care board). At the end of my contract with the ICB, I was made aware of a role to continue to support the community with both Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity and Cransley Hospice Trust which I am delighted to say I now hold. It is a privilege to be able to continue to work for both charities.

Q: How can the local community support Cransley Hospice Trust?

A: Recently we launched our Regular Giving campaign. Giving regularly is one of the best and easiest ways to support Cransley Hospice Trust. Supporting us in this way enables us to plan for the future, safe in the knowledge that our funding is secure. This way we can make sure that hospice care is available to people in our community who are desperate for support.

If you would like to set up a regular donation, please click here.