On 26 January, after 17 years of partnership, The Salvation Army and the Marlborough Hospice Trust celebrated together in a handover ceremony in Blenheim, as the Army stepped back from its involvement in Hospice Marlborough.
The Salvation Army shield will remain at the hospice to signify its journey and contribution to the service’s story.
When the hospice began in 2003, there was a gap in Marlborough when it came to palliative care, and the local community was eager to develop a service to meet this need. The Salvation Army was brought on to supply expertise around running the hospice. Since then, the Army has been responsible for the operation of Hospice Marlborough: employing doctors and nurses, developing policies and organising IT and payroll systems for the service. In the handover, The Salvation Army has supported Marlborough Hospice Trust in implementing these things independently.
As the Trust has developed in its competence and capacity to maintain the hospice, and the Army has received a growing demand for its housing and pandemic-related support, it feels like fortuitous timing for the handover. Assistant Territorial Secretary for Mission Lt-Colonel Lynette Hutson, explains that, ‘from the beginning it was the intention that The Salvation Army would do this until it was the right time to move on’.
Over this time, trends in palliative care have changed from being mainly offered within a hospital or hospice setting, to now having services delivered into people’s homes. ‘At the moment, the beds are really the last resort, because up until that point—rather than having people in palliative care in a hospital bed—they've been in their own home. A lot of people actually choose to pass in their own home and the systems are so set up now that that’s possible. It’s quite lovely.’
Lynette is hopeful that in this new chapter for the hospice, the heart of the service will remain the same. ‘It’s about the families who come into the hospice service in deepest distress because they've just had terrible news, and they're facing it as a family. The staff there talked to me about this yesterday, they said, “The Salvation Army’s heart has been important to us. And we just want to keep that”.’
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This news item appeared in the 20 February 2021 edition of War Cry.