St Michael’s Hospice
The team at St Michael’s Hospice cares for patients with terminal illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, heart disease, respiratory difficulties and Motor Neurone disease. This includes those people at the end of their lives as well as those who require respite care, day therapy or “hospice at home” services.
St Michael’s Hospice offers:
· Acute/ongoing palliative and respite care in 30 beds
· Day therapy four days a week for 18 people a day
· A 24/7 hands-on palliative care nursing service for people at home called ‘Hospice at Home’
· A ‘night sitting’ service
· Bereavement support
· Clinical advice and training to colleagues in the NHS or local nursing homes
In a typical year St Michael’s makes over 2,800 Hospice at Home visits as well as telephone support. It also provides over 2,400 day therapy attendances, looks after around 400 in-patients and provides nearly 1,000 hours of bereavement counselling.
The Hospice is not wealthy. It costs around £5 million a year to run so it needs to raise £9,000 per day for ongoing running costs and relies on the generosity of supporters to achieve this.
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St Michael’s Hospice’s heritage
The Hospice will be 25 years old in 2012, but its history as a care home goes back much further. The main building, Gensing House, was built on farmland and bought by the Augustinian Sisters of the Holy Heart of Mary (founded in Paris) in the late nineteenth century. They opened up the house as a care home for elderly ladies in 1886. During the Great War, the house offered shelter to French refugees; while the Second World War saw it become a maternity unit for mothers evacuated from London.
The Augustinian Sisters remained at Gensing House until 1984 when, after 98 years in England, they moved back to Paris. Coincidentally, a project had been started in St Leonards for the founding of a hospice for the terminally ill of Hastings and Rother…and St Michael’s Hospice was eventually opened in 1987.