Five things you didn’t know about Marie Curie Hospices

As it’s Hospice Care Week, we thought it would be good to look at parts of our hospices that people might not know that much about. Often people assume that hospices must be gloomy places. However, as the Happy video from our Newcastle hospice shows, this is far from the truth. Here are five more things that might surprise you about our hospices. 

1. You can get married at our hospices

Did you know that we cater for all kinds of ceremonies and celebrations at our hospices? Our chaplains can conduct weddings and christening while we often throw birthday parties. 

We’ve also hosted graduation ceremonies. When the family of Richard Holmes, a patient at theMarie Curie Hospice, Newcastle, found out that he’d achieved his master’s degree, the nurses offered to organise a graduation ceremony for Richard at the hospice. They contacted the head of faculty and course director, who came along to the hospice to present Richard with his certificate

2. You can watch our wonderful wildlife on TV 

The Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands has a wonderful garden that is teeming with wildlife. It’s such a hit that the hospice recently installed a video feed of the wildlife area that is hardwired into the TV system and available as an extra channel for patients in their rooms. The camera is even infrared so they can watch at night! 

We also find that people miss their pets when they are in the hospice so we encourage families to bring dogs, cats and other pets to visit. 

3. We provide many different kinds of care

One thing people often don’t realise is that our hospices also cater for day patients. It allows people to come in for the day and then get home (we even arrange the transport). All our hospices offer a range of therapies for day patients from massage to aromatherapy. 

One of the more unusual therapies on offer at the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead is a sound bath. A sound bath is a form of sound therapy where patients are ‘bathed’ in the sound of gongs, Tibetan singing bowls and percussion instruments. This creates a resonance and harmony that patients say helps them feel an inner stillness and total relaxation. 

4. We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers

Not many people realise how important volunteer are to our hospice – our nine hospices rely on the support of more than 1,300 volunteers. 

We have volunteer gardeners, receptionists, hairdressers, drivers, librarians, fundraisers and people who come in to help serve tea on the ward. It is an incredible range of skills and an exceptional amount of time committed to help Marie Curie provide the care and support that we do. And with research showing that volunteers at UK hospices help reduce costs by almost 25%, our volunteers also save the charity millions of pounds each year. 

5. We play a big part in the communities we serve

Apart from providing care and support for people living with terminal illness, we try to reach out to different groups in the community. 

For example, the Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle runs the Daffodil Project, a programme specially designed for primary schoolchildren between the ages of 10 and 11. The project helps raise awareness among schoolchildren of what we do at our hospice to improve people’s quality of life. Children also have the opportunity to discuss the topics of being seriously ill, death, dying and bereavement in a sensitive way that is appropriate for their age group. 

6. And one more thing... not everyone comes to a hospice to die

There is a perception of hospices that might be best captured by the thought “if I go in, I am never getting out.” For many of the people we care for this is not the case. Sometimes people come to the hospice because they just need that bit of extra care. We can help stabilise and strengthen them before they go home again. This can happen a number of times over a long period of time. People also come for day therapies – there are instances where people have come to the hospice for years. 

Virtual tour of Newcastle Hospice