Frequently Asked Questions
All of our staff and volunteers are on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have. If you ever need to speak to a member of the medical or nursing team then please do call or email.
Q. How do I become a Hospice in the Weald patient?
Once diagnosed with a terminal illness (provided you live within our catchment area) you are able to be 'referred' to, or in simpler terms, access the care and support of Hospice in the Weald. Your GP or medical consultant, hospital nurse or doctor may refer you to Hospice in the Weald. However you, a family member, carer or friend on your behalf, are also able to get in touch directly by just clicking the pink 'Access our care' button to the left of the screen and filling out some personal details and answering a few short questions.
Q. Why have I been referred to Hospice in the Weald?
If you did not refer yourself then your GP, hospital doctor/nurse or District Nurse has referred you to Hospice in the Weald so that you and your family can benefit from our specialist palliative care team expertise to help improve any symptoms you may be experiencing, your quality of life and to help support you during your terminal illness.
Q. Where does my GP fit into this?
Your GP/doctor is ‘in charge’ of your care at home even if Hospice in the Weald is involved. Hospice in the Weald’s medical and nursing team works very closely with your GP and always talks to your GP about any changes in your medication.
Q. Do Hospice in the Weald Clinical Nurse Specialists take over from my District Nurses?
No. The District Nurse will continue to be involved with your nursing care. The Hospice in the Weald Clinical Nurse Specialists and the team focus on symptom control, support and advice with the staff nurses and healthcare assistants providing nursing care and support.
Q. Will I be able to come to Hospice in the Weald and stay on the In-Patient Ward if I need to?
We will do everything we can to support you at home but if this is not possible we will secure a bed for you on the In-Patient Ward when required. Sometimes there is a slight delay of a few days. If this is the case, then your nursing team will talk to you about arranging extra help at home or may help you explore another care setting if this is more appropriate.
Q. I have made an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (previously called a Living Will) who should I tell?
As well as telling your GP and Hospital Doctor you can also discuss this with your Hospice in the Weald care team. Your wishes are recorded on our database accessed by all relevant staff. If you would like to consider making an Advance Decision, the information and forms you require can be obtained from your nursing team.
Q. What facilities does the Hospice have for resuscitation?
Hospice in the Weald has the facility to provide basic life support in the event of a heart attack whilst awaiting emergency transfer to an acute hospital. There will be opportunity to discuss this with you and your family and carers. You are welcome to see a copy of the Hospice in the Weald policy on resuscitation or to discuss our approach to treatment with a member of staff if you have any concerns.
Q. How do I raise any comments/concerns about service provided?
Hospice in the Weald aims to achieve excellence in all areas and to provide the best possible standards of care to meet the needs of our patients, families and carers. Occasionally however things may not happen in the way you or we would like and we encourage people to let us know about this, as it helps us to improve the care we offer. If possible, matters should be raised in the first instance with the relevant nursing, medical or support staff either verbally or in writing. If the response is not satisfactory or you wish to take the matter further, a written notice may be sent to the Hospice addressed to the Nursing Director, Peter Ellis at Hospice in the Weald, Maidstone Road, Pembury, Kent. TN2 4TA
Q. Do you see patients in hospital?
We have close links with the hospital palliative care team and one of our consultants and one of our specialist nurses see patients during their weekly session at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
Q. Do the Hospice doctors see patients in their own homes?
A consultant and specialty doctor regularly review patients in their own homes and provide medical advice to Hospice Clinical Nurse Specialists and local GPs.
Q. Who prescribes the new medications that you've suggested?
We would advise the GP who would usually be responsible for then issuing the prescription. On discharge from the Hospice In-Patient Ward, you would be provided with 14 days medication.
Q. Can my relative be with me on the In-Patient Ward?
Yes, at the discretion of the nurse in charge.
Q. I often have a small whisky in the evening, do I have to stop if I come in to the Hospice In-Patient Unit?
We are happy for people to drink alcohol (within reason) especially if it's part of their daily habits. You or your family are welcome to bring in something that can be kept in your room.
Q. I'm worried about my favourite dog/cat, can they come and visit me?
We often have pets come and visit patients. Ideally it needs a bit of planning but is something that can be easily organised with the staff on the In-Patient Ward. We also regularly have visiting volunteer pat dogs for those who like to see and stroke animals.
Q. Do I have to stay in my room on the In-Patient Ward all of the time?
No, not at all. On the In-Patient Ward there is a sitting room and we have beautiful gardens should you like to take a stroll or visit the Labyrinth. During your stay we would encourage you to use our other services, such as complementary therapies. Please ask a member of the team for more information.
Q. What about patient confidentiality? Is all of my Hospice in the Weald medical and personal information safe?
Hospice in the Weald is committed to Data Protection and we take great care to ensure that patient records are looked after properly. We aim to comply with all current legislation. During a visit or stay at the Hospice, you may be asked for information for us to give the correct care and treatment. The patient record covers all aspects of your treatment. All information is kept on a secure computer or paper record (or both) and may also include x-rays or photos. Within the Hospice, people involved in caring will have access to patient records to enable them to provide the most appropriate care. We may also need to share some information with other people involved in your treatment, such as your GP, hospital doctor, community nurse or social worker. We may also share your information with the 'Care Quality Commission', our regulator. They will also keep your information secure but may contact you regarding our Services. Anyone who has access to patient records is under a legal duty to keep this information confidential. All patients have a right to privacy and we owe you that duty of confidentiality. However, if agreed by you, we will keep your carers, family and friends up-to-date with relevant information. We will not give sensitive details to others without your consent. You also have the right to change your mind about who can and cannot have access to your formation. You have a right to access your own Health Record. This can be done informally by asking the person treating you if you can see your notes and if they would go through them with you. For more formal access and copies of notes, patients are asked to contact the Nursing Director. When a patient is first visited they are asked if they would like to have copies of correspondence sent to clinical colleagues. If at any time you have any questions about your records you should not hesitate to talk to a member of staff.
Q. Will I always need Hospice care?
If your condition stabilises and hospice palliative care services are no longer appropriate, Hospice care can be temporarily suspended. This will be fully discussed with you in advance. It is very easy for the Hospice to become involved again if the need arises and you can contact us to discuss this at any time. We are always here for support and advice.