Cynthia Spencer Hospice provides skilled and compassionate care to patients and their families with complex issues as a result of life limiting illness.
The 24 hour a day, 365 day a year care provided within the Hospice is free of charge and is part-funded by the NHS and by charitable donations raised by the Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity.
The Hospice delivers specialist care through teams of nurses, doctors, occupational and physiotherapists, and other professionals including spiritual and religious care with volunteer support. We care for people at home through our specialist nurses, Hospice@Home service or on our Hospice Inpatient Unit. We also provide outpatients clinics and work closely with district nurses, GP’s and local hospitals.
Our aim is to ensure the best quality of life for all our patients and to support their families and carers.
Funded almost exclusively by charitable donations the Cynthia Spencer Day Hospice is open for palliative care patients and their carers.
Every Wednesday the Day Hospice hosts its rolling 12 week Patient Information Programme (PIP) which is designed to give palliative care patients information about all the services that are available to them as well as provide them with essential psychological support. The programme runs from 10am – 3.30pm, and transport can be arranged for patients who find it difficult to attend, lunch is also provided.
The morning session usually includes a talk about a variety of different topics from nutrition and pain control through to complementary therapies and massage. Of course, it also provides the perfect opportunity for patients to interact with other people who are in the same situation as them. In the afternoon, there is the opportunity to participate in a variety of diversional therapies including a wide range of interesting talks, painting, pottery, growing vegetables and gardening. Once patients have completed the 12 week PIP they can if required, attend an advanced programme which runs every alternate Tuesday for six months.
The advanced programme is for those people who feel they need more support and again is designed to meet their individual needs as their illness progresses.
On the third Tuesday of each month, the Day Hospice hosts a drop in carers and volunteers service when carers and volunteers who are looking after people with a long term, terminal illness can drop in, have a coffee, and chat through any concerns they may have with the day hospice team. The drop in service which is open from 10 – 3pm was launched in 2013, and has proved to be very successful, with many carers and volunteers regularly calling in to either access information or take advantage of a reflexology massage.
Referrals to the Cynthia Spencer Day Hospice are usually made through one of the Hospice’s palliative care clinical nurse specialists. The Day Hospice Team includes, nurses, chaplain, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
The inpatient unit accommodates 16 beds with a mixture of bays and single rooms. The average length of stay is two weeks. Your GP, palliative care clinical nurse specialist or hospital Consultant will refer you. Patients come into the Hospice if they require admission for difficult symptoms to be controlled or if they are unable to be at home.
When you arrive at the Hospice the ward receptionist or one of the nurses will meet you and show you to your bed. The nurse will introduce you to everyone and familiarise you with your surroundings.
You will be assessed by a doctor and a nurse on admission. We have several doctors on our team and you will be seen by one of them daily during your stay. You are encouraged to discuss any problems or worries you may have with any member of the multidisciplinary team (a team of different professionals). The doctors are also very happy to speak to your relatives/carers when available in the inpatient unit or by appointment. Naturally, this would be done with your consent.
A senior nurse will be responsible for your care throughout your stay and the staff here will do their utmost to make you feel comfortable and at home.
All information concerning you, your illness and your stay is treated as strictly confidential. However, this information will be shared with members of the multidisciplinary team within the Hospice. If there is anything you wish to discuss that you would not like to be shared with the team, please make this known and your wishes will be respected.
You are also welcome to view any of your care plans or letters that we write about you.
Please remember to bring all tablets and medicines you are currently taking so that the doctor can see them. These will be used during your stay. If you have a community care folder at home which the district nurse uses, it would be helpful to bring that with you.
You will also need:
You are welcome to bring with you photographs or any other small items that will make you feel at home.
The bedside locker is provided for your personal belongings, but you are advised not to bring valuables or large amounts of money with you. If you have no alternative, please arrange with the nursing staff for these items to be deposited in the Hospice safe and a receipt will be issued.
The Hospice cannot accept responsibility for the loss of or damage to property, money or valuables unless they have been taken into safekeeping. You will be asked to sign a disclaimer to this effect.
Our QUIET TIME is between 1pm and 2pm when we encourage patients to rest. We only allow visitors in during this time under exceptional circumstances, otherwise we have open visiting. Mornings can be busy and visitors may be asked to wait in communal areas to respect patients’ privacy and dignity.
When the reception is unmanned, please use the intercom to speak to ward staff to gain entry.
We would ask visitors not to stay too late in the evening, especially if visiting someone in a bay, as most people are very tired by 8pm or 9pm.
Should anyone have difficulty with visiting or wish to make special arrangements, they should ask one of the nursing staff who will be happy to help.
We ask that visitors do not bring in or consume alcohol on the premises.
Please sign in at our reception desk for security reasons and fire safety.
Children are welcome to visit and there is a play area next to the coffee shop. Support is available to children during this difficult time (for example, someone to talk to about their feelings).
There are circumstances when relatives or friends may need to stay overnight and they will always be made welcome.
We will of course be happy to make a drink for you at any time and your relatives are welcome to bring food in for you should you wish.
Fridges are available in the bays, but if any food is placed in these, it must be labelled with a name and date.
Visitors are welcome to use our coffee shop, which is open at various times during the day. Alternatively, there are vending machines in the coffee shop. There is also a small kitchen where visitors can make drinks.
We have no laundry facilities and it would be appreciated if laundry could be taken home by your relatives. In an emergency we would of course, be prepared to help you.
The garden, conservatory and woodland walk is situated at the rear of the inpatient unit (through the lounge), providing a calm atmosphere in which you and your visitors can relax. Several benches are placed around the patio area and along the woodland walk. If you wish to use the conservatory, please ask a nurse to unlock it for you. We do ask that no-one smokes in the conservatory.
We have a small charity shop which sells a small range of greetings cards and gifts. It is manned by our volunteers and is open each day from 10am to 4pm . There is also a coffee shop within the Hospice which is again run by our volunteers and open from 10am to 4pm each day. Light refreshments and home made sandwiches are available throughout the day too. Across the road is a small shopping precinct with a post office and a Tesco for everyday items.
The Trust operates a strict NO SMOKING policy for all patients, staff and visitors, both in the Hospice and the surrounding buildings and grounds.
Your post will be brought to you as soon as it arrives and you may ask a nurse if you have a letter to be posted.
Cynthia Spencer Hospice
Manfield Health Campus,
There is a nurse call at each bed. A member of the nursing staff will explain this to you.
|Sisters||Plain royal blue dress or tunic|
|Staff nurses||Blue/white stripe dress or tunic|
|Healthcare Assistants||Mauve or grey/white stripe dress or tunic|
|Ward Receptionist||Navy/green blouse, black trousers or own clothes|
|Admin/Clerical/Secretarial staff||Own clothes|
|Ward Volunteer||Pale green tunic|
We have our own physiotherapist and occupational therapist at the Hospice as well as a physiotherapy gym.
The role of the physiotherapist is to assess physical ability, provide gentle rehabilitation and promote independence.
The role of the occupational therapist is to help patients and their families remain independent for as long as possible.
If you would like to see either of them, your nurse will refer you.
Parking is free.
There is a Family Work Team based at the Hospice. A member of this team will try to meet you during your stay. Their role is to offer practical and emotional support to you and your family. If you have previously seen a social worker or care manager we will contact them for you.
Fire alarms are tested on Tuesday mornings.
Our Chaplaincy service is available to both residential and non- residential patients and their relatives and carers. We are a multi-denominational and interspiritual team lead by our senior Chaplain which offers unconditional and non-judgemental care, support and befriending for the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of patients in this unique season of change and transition. The team also offers long term support for the families and carers who are supporting our patients.
It is not necessary to be 'religious' in order to benefit from our support. The service is available to all unconditionally on a 24/6 basis.
The unique beliefs and worldview of each person are respected and honoured. We are here to listen to support.
Your doctor and nurse will discuss with you about going home. Obviously, you will not be able to go until you, your relatives or carers and the Hospice team are happy for you to do so.
We will contact your GP and district nurse and reinstate any other help you have at home. Care at home will be arranged on a needs basis. You may need a home visit prior to discharge with our occupational therapist. They will assess you at home and arrange for any equipment you might need.
We ask that your family/friends provide transport home wherever possible. If this is difficult, we have use of the Ambulance Service or sometimes a volunteer driver.
When you go home we will provide you with medication to last for seven days. You will need to contact your GP for another supply before these run out. We will also give you a card that tells you what your medications are for and when to take them. If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact the Hospice.
Cynthia Spencer Hospice would be lost without the dedicated help of its volunteers. They include people from all walks of life who give their time so generously. Their duties in the inpatient unit are varied and include helping the nurses, answering the phone, manning the reception desk, spending time talking/reading to you or anything else you would like them to do. They also run the coffee shop, work in the Day Hospice and help bring patients in to the Day Hospice.
Inpatient care is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year care is completely free of charge to our patients but it is not free to provide. Although part-funded by the NHS we are reliant on our charities, who currently provide 30p of every £1 we spend on care. We are able to also support our patients’ families due to the unique way in which we are funded. We are dependent on the community of Northamptonshire to help us provide the very highest standards of care.
We are constantly striving to improve our service and would be grateful for your views or those of anyone visiting. Relatives, visitors and patients are welcome to complete a ‘Help Us to Help You’ leaflet.
You may be asked to complete a discharge survey when you go home. We have a patient and relative satisfaction survey available electronically. There is a station in the patient lounge where you can complete this or a nurse can bring a portable one to you.
“The housemothers add all those personal touches to the Hospice making it a homely place to stay”
At Cynthia Spencer Hospice we are fortunate enough to have two housemothers who seem to magically ensure that the Hospice has that warm and homely feel. Often the first faces that new patients might come across, our housemothers work behind the scenes to make sure that our patients are comfortable, have everything they need and that the Hospice itself is clean, tidy and presentable.
Whether the housemothers are nipping out to buy newspapers, greetings cards or toiletries for patients, or arranging special family events and parties or even weddings in the Chapel, it is down to Julie and Catherine to liaise with all the teams across the Hospice to make it all happen.
We can provide this information in large print, Braille, on audio tape, disc and other languages or formats on request. Please ask a member of staff or contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 917 8504 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
When Hospice@Home was first launched in 2004, its mission was to provide end of life care to cancer patients who lived within a 12 mile radius of Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton. Hospice@Home provides care to patients who are usually in the last two weeks of life.
Set up with just a team of ten, a decade later this small service comprising nine qualified nurses and one administrator, is today not only providing end of life care to cancer patients across the county, but also to people with a complete range of complex needs and life threatening illnesses from dementia and heart failure through to Motor Neurone Disease.
“ It was father's wish to remain at home until the end and Hospice at Home allowed this to happen. Not having any real experience of caring for someone, I felt very much out of my depth at times and it was therefore a great comfort and relief when the Hospice at Home nurses came. My father was in very capable hands. The nurses were very professional and whilst they were primarily here for my father, they were a great support to me also. ”
Working in partnership and in collaboration with health professionals, Hospice@Home is unique in that it provides end of life care in people’s own home.
Referrals for Hospice@Home which is based at Cynthia Spencer Hospice usually come via a District Nurse, GP or other health professionals.
“ The Hospice@Home team is a very special band of nurses who provide an absolutely invaluable service. The fantastic feedback we get from appreciative families is testament to the quality of service they continuously give."
-John Helm, Fundraising Manager
Based at Cynthia Spencer Hospice, our Lymphoedema service consists of three dedicated Lympoedema therapists and one admin assistant. The Lymphoedema nurses use their expertise to provide support and advice to patients to help them to self-manage their condition.
“ This is a superb service with highly professional, friendly and welcoming staff. Nothing is too much trouble, I feel cared for and supported. Thank you very much. ”
Lymphoedema (pronounced limf-o-dee-ma) is the swelling of an arm, leg or other part of the body due to an abnormal collection of fluid called Lymph in the body tissues. This sometimes happens if cancer blocks the drainage of fluid through the lymphatic system, or when part of the lymphatic drainage system has been removed by surgery or damaged by cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy. It is a chronic condition that although incurable, is treatable.
The aim of Lymphoedema treatment is to relieve discomfort by reducing swelling and to prevent more build up of fluid. It may take several weeks or months before the affected part of the body becomes less swollen, easier to move and less uncomfortable.
There are four main aspects of treatment:
Because Lymphoedema can make the skin become dry, good moisturising is essential. Any break in the skin, can increase the risk of infection (sometimes called cellulitis). The swollen part becomes red, hot and painful and Antibiotics are usually needed to treat the infection.
Compression garments work by compressing the swollen tissues and stopping fluid from building up, it also helps to move the fluid to an area that is draining well. The support allows the muscles to pump fluid away more effectively.
If arms/legs are very swollen or misshapen then a compression sleeve/stocking may be difficult to fit. In this case multi-layer elasticated bandages are used at the first part of treatment.
Gentle exercise plays a vital role in preventative Lymphoedema.
It helps to:
Manual Lymphatic Drainiage (MLD):
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a very specialised type of massage and is an important part of the treatment. The aim of the massage is to stimulate or move excess fluid away from the swollen area, so that it can drain away normally.
Referrals to the Lymphoedema service are via a member of the medical profession i.e. GP, Consultant.
Once the referral has been received an appointment will be made at the Outpatient clinic at Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Referrals are dealt with on a waiting list system, an initial appointment which is more of an assessment will be given at the earliest available clinic, usually between 4 – 8 weeks.
Our therapy team is made up of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and the Palliative Neurology Team. The three teams work closely together to ensure that our palliative care patients staying in our Inpatient unit at the Hospice as well as those who are receiving care in the community maintain a quality of life to allow them to live as independently as possible.
Covering the South of the County, and based at the Hospice, our OT team strives to enable people to maintain independence through the provision of equipment and adaptations, some of which is provided free of charge.
“ Thank you very much for getting all the equipment so fast, it has made such a difference.”
People in the community who are experiencing problems with their personal and domestic activities are referred to the OT team either by their Palliative Consultant, GP, District or Macmillan nurses. Once a referral is made then usually within 5 working days, a member of the team will visit the person in their own home and carry out an assessment to see what problems they are having. This may include having difficulty getting in and out of the bath, climbing the stairs or accessing their homes. Together with the patient they work out how to best overcome the problems and what equipment will help make their lives easier.
For those patients who are admitted into the Inpatient unit at the Hospice, then the OTs are integral in planning their discharge and will work closely with patients and their carers to establish what equipment is needed for their return home. This may include provision of specialist beds, hoists and other manual handling equipment.
In addition, if an Occupational Therapist can identify a particular passion, hobby or craft that a patient enjoys, then by working closely with Volunteers the OT will try and help work out a plan to help them continue to enjoy their favoured pastime.
The Palliative Neurology Team working in the South of the county together with palliative consultant, provide specialist care for people with Motor Neurone Disease and other progressive neurological conditions such as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. The team provides practical advice on managing symptoms, assessing for and providing equipment and interventions to maintain independence, problem–solving, medication reviews and future care planning. Close links are maintained with the wider multidisciplinary team including Speech Therapy and Nutrition/Dietetics. The team works with people in their own homes and at the hospice and has close links with organisations such as the MND Association.
Referral to our Physiotherapy Team, based at the Hospice is again made either via a palliative consultant, specialist nurses, district nurses, Macmillan nurses or GPs. Our Physiotherapy team works with patients both as inpatients or outpatients at the Hospice.
They assist people with any mobility issues they may be experiencing through rehabilitation to promote strength, balance, range of movement and wellbeing, with access to a small gym and equipment. If appropriate, this can include specialist advice and treatment for symptom control.
At present the outpatient Palliative Physiotherapy service is available three afternoons a week or the team can arrange to meet up with people when they attend the day hospice programme.
With a technical instructor at the Hospice, ward patients can usually access physiotherapy five days a week.
As part of the Palliative Neurology Team e.g caring for people with conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy visits can be arranged in the community, if they are not able to attend the outpatient clinic or day hospice programme.
The role of our dedicated palliative care family worker is to look after the social and emotional aspects of palliative care patients staying at the Hospice. Whether she is imparting advice about practical issues such as benefits, pensions and Wills, or putting a tailor-made care package in place, all this comes under the expertise of our family worker.
“When patients are feeling unwell, problems can very quickly spiral out of proportion, and can become a real concern. As a family worker I can explore the problems and support the patients and their families and carers to help to find a solution.”
But the family worker's time is not solely dedicated to the patients’ care needs, the welfare of carers also comes top of her agenda. She is on hand to ensure that both families and carers have the necessary emotional and practical support too.
With a complete understanding of both medical and social care needs, our family worker will also act as an advocate for people who may need help with expressing their thoughts and feelings to family or to professionals involved in their care.
Referral to the palliative care family worker can be requested by a patient or their family and is made through the medical team at the Hospice.
Another aspect of the family worker's role is considering and supporting the needs of children who are to be bereaved. Working alongside the significant adults of these children the family worker gives advice, information and resources to aid communication with them. A whole raft of wonderful initiatives have been introduced to enable children to express their own thoughts and feelings.
“Thank you so much for giving our 4 children the wonderful memory boxes. We have had many good laughs and lots of tears looking through the old photos of Mum. It’s definitely easier doing them while Mum is still alive as there are lots of questions I can not answer ”
The creation of memory boxes encourages children to store memories, whether it is pictures, photos, or other special items. The boxes act as a prompt for children to discuss what they are putting in their boxes and why. Funded exclusively by charitable donations, the success of the memory boxes is greatly encouraging.
Other initiatives include snuggle quilts and soft toys. Children regularly visiting their special someone at the Hospice can be encouraged to select a cuddly toy or quilt from our collection which they bring with them whenever they come to the Hospice. The snuggle quilts and soft toys are kept by the children and are used to help build an association with the special person and will help them to remember well into the future.
“Recording precious moments is vitally important to children, and hopefully some of our ideas and suggestions will help them”
Palliative care clinical nurse specialists are registered nurses with specialist knowledge and qualifications in cancer and palliative care. The aim of the service is to support patients and their families who are experiencing cancer and other life limiting illnesses. We provide information and advice on :
Patients are referred to us by GPs, community nurses, Hospital doctors/ nurses and the Hospice team. We will then contact you by phone to arrange a convenient time to come and see you at home or if you would prefer in our clinic at CSH. We discuss your care with your GP or Hospital Team, as appropriate.
We keep in touch with you through either phone contact or home/clinic visits, however you will have our contact details if needed. Whenever contact is made we talk to you about your symptoms or concerns and plan with you how to address these so that you can live better with your disease.
Our service is available Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm. If you become suddenly unwell it is important to always contact your GP.
“ My specialist nurse has been calling on me since I was diagnosed with palliative cancer ….she is very understanding…I feel that when I talk she listens and will suggest the kinds of medication that will help me”
“ We talked about things that may happen in the future and I thank her for her support.
“ You gave us both the emotional support I can’t thank you enough”
“ With your support my husband was able, as his last wish, to remain at home thank you”
Chaplaincy is about unconditional and non-judgemental care and support for your inner life through spiritual, pastoral, and religious care.
Coping with a serious illness, or supporting someone that is journeying with one, can cause us to experience vulnerability, strong emotions, and can raise questions about the deeper issues and meaning of life.
Whether you have an active faith which supports you, are uncertain about such things, or have no religious belief, the Chaplaincy team is here as an unconditional friend and non-judgemental journey companion.
Spiritual care - We offer care and support for the issues of the mind & heart and serve together with all the staff at the Hospice in ensuring that you receive support for each aspect of your personhood. This support is called spiritual care, because it touches those unseen inward places that form each one of us to be unique and special individuals. As we all as humans can share in spiritual care and compassion, so can we also share in 'spiritual pain', which may speak to us of our inner anxieties, fears, doubts, and perhaps questions which many experience in this special season of their lives.
Pastoral care - Pastoral care and counselling often touches upon those personal and relational issues that you may wish to deal with at this time. You may wish to chat through issues with someone in confidentiality, seek another neutral position, or simply have the chance to 'think out loud' in a safe and secure context.
Religious care - Religious care concerns the specific faith walk of the heart that we have chosen. The Chaplaincy service is here to guarantee that your specific faith need will be provided for whenever possible within a hospice context.
If you have a religious faith, being able to continue to practice that faith while in hospice care can be very important. With your permission, your local minister or religious leader may be contacted, and continue his/her religious service to you and your family.
The Chapel of Peace - The Chapel of Peace is situated off the main corridor of the Inpatient Unit. It is open 24 hours a day and is available to anyone who wishes to use it for private prayer or just as a place of quiet retreat. There is designated room for ablutions at the entrance to the Chapel.
Christian Services - The Sacraments & Ordinances of the Christian church are administered in the Chapel, and by the bedside for those patients who are unable to attend and wish to receive them.
Interfaith Services -There are a regular interfaith & interspiritual services held in the Chapel of Peace.
You do not have to belong to any faith tradition in order to benefit from our support. There is always a Chaplain on call day or night.Chaplains are unconditional befrienders who are available to patients and their loved ones on an in-patient or out-patient basis.
We are simply here for you.