St Clare Hospice is celebrating the ninth birthday of its Hospice at Home service, which was launched in January 2014.

The team of nurses and nursing assistants care for people with life-limiting illnesses in their own homes in West Essex.

Alison Saunders commented on the care her dad Alan received in 2020, saying: "Dad was cared for at home, near Saffron Walden, by the Hospice at Home team.

"He always looked forward to their visits, and they became like part of the family. He would muck around, and a have a laugh with the nursing assistants.

"He loved them, and their help was just brilliant – for us as a family, as well as Dad. We could ask them questions and they gave so much support."

Saffron Walden Reporter: Alison's parents Alan and Marjorie Edge received Hospice at Home careAlison's parents Alan and Marjorie Edge received Hospice at Home care (Image: St Clare Hospice)

In 2021/2022 the Hospice at Home care team provided support for more than 460 families, and the need for their services continues to grow.

Alison continued: "Having the Hospice at Home night sitter was a huge help. I live just round the corner from my parents’ house, and would often get a call during the night to go around and help when Dad had fallen.

"For weeks, I was only getting three or four hours sleep a night. It was so lovely when Pauline, the night sitter from Hospice at Home, came and it meant that my husband and I could just go to bed and know that both Mum and Dad were safe.”

"Dad wanted to die at home, and we were able to make that happen with the support of St Clare Hospice. He was cared for by the Hospice at Home team for around four weeks before he died on August 18, 2020."

Hospice at Home manager Sonia Haigh said: "Our team has worked so hard over the past 9 years, growing the service and supporting more people.

"Our service has never been more needed, as we support patients get home from hospital as quickly as possible to release the pressure on the NHS, and to care for as many people in the place of their choice – which is so often their own home."