We were recently invited by North London Hospice to hear about all the work they do to support carers. As an organisation, their work starts as soon as people are diagnosed, not just at the very end, supporting the families as well as offering specialist palliative care to the patient.
Many of us will find ourselves caring for elderly family and friends and NLH offers a broad range of training for professionals, community groups and individuals. This personal training works hand-in-hand with the outreach care provided by the hospice as most people understandably want to remain in the comfort of their homes for as long as possible. To date most of this training has been offered to care-homes, but it is available much more generally.
The Education Team talked me through their current prospectus that includes “Namaste Care” for anyone caring for those with end stage dementia. Namaste is a Hindu term for “honour the spirit within” and the course is based around the five senses to connect with people and focus on wellbeing. Another course which is run in conjunction with Noah’s Ark is to help support young people facing bereavement, suitable for school teachers and other people working with children. Bespoke training can also be arranged for community groups and businesses, delivering study days or courses at your place of work or another suitable venue. As we increasingly face an ageing population, this kind of support is becoming all the more necessary.
It was also fascinating hearing about how the organisation works and the difference made by the volunteers. As well as the staff in the 17 shops, the two main facilities, the hospice in Woodside Park and the Health and Wellbeing Centre in Winchmore Hill enjoy the complimentary services of hair and make-up professionals, yoga teachers, massage therapists, all contributing to the caring environment. In total there are up to 1000 volunteers working alongside the 240 employees of the hospice. North London Hospice receives an income from the NHS for the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey which it covers, but fundraising and other sources of revenue like the training make up the critical two-thirds of their funding.
While I was there a walking group was returning for coffee. For six months after being bereaved, the hospice offers support and companionship with others similarly affected. At the Winchmore Hill centre there is a carers network and support group where they themselves can unwind with a massage or reiki, enjoy an exercise class or have a coffee and a chat in the café. It’s a special place, North London Hospice, and it was a real privilege to spend some time there and get a bigger picture of what they do.
Please check the North London Hospice website for details of upcoming courses which also include their popular Summer and Autumn Schools for 15 to 19 year olds considering a career in medicine, nursing or health and social care. Alternatively please call the Education Department on 020 8343 6832.