Day Hospice Appeal: Offering social and bereavement support

15:00 31 May 2014

East Devon community clinical nurse specialist Mary Ashby

East Devon community clinical nurse specialist Mary Ashby


The majority of Hospiscare patients are cared for in their own homes by the charity’s highly qualified, experienced community clinical nurse specialists.

Hospiscare nurses provide pain and symptom control and psychological, emotional and spiritual support to patients, carers and families, seven days a week.

They provide social and bereavement support where necessary and if patients need support from a day hospice the nurses can help to facilitate that.

With work beginning on the new East Devon Day Hospice, the East Devon nursing team has received positive feedback from patients.

East Devon clinical nurse specialist Mary Ashby said: “When I ask our patients if they are interested in attending day care, some feel they have enough support at home, whilst others say ‘yes please’, ‘I’ll give it a go’, ‘I’ll have a bath’, ‘I’ll have a chat’, ‘I’ll see what I think’, ‘it’ll give the missus a break’.

“I feel the project is more exciting now we have started the renovations in King Street. The support since we walked the Honiton Carnival giving out information is gaining momentum daily - for which East Devon people should feel very proud.”

Mary joined Hospiscare in 2002 working at the Exeter in-patient unit before moving into her current clinical nurse specialist in palliative care role within the East Devon community team in 2005.

Mary began her nurse training aged 27. Five years later, after experiencing a personal loss, she began a career in palliative care.

Mary said: “I started my nurse training in 1989. The same year, my beloved mother - my role model - died at home with metastatic breast cancer.

“I gained strength from her memory and by the time I qualified in 1992, I wanted to support patients with complex, life-limiting health care needs.”

Daily, Mary visits patients and their families at home to provide expert advice and support, enabling them to live with complex care needs.

Liaising with GPs, nurses, occupational therapists, care managers and community hospitals also sees Mary working as part of a wider community team to provide best patient care.

The new East Devon Day Hospice will bring care closer to people in the region, ruling out the need to travel to take advantage of a support network.

Mary said: “We will be able to hold local support groups, outpatients, therapy treatments and, above all, a meeting place for patients and their families to support one another.

“Our patients and their families and the local communities are showing their support and enthusiasm for the East Devon Day Hospice, with local fund raising events being organised and support financially from local businesses, for which we will be forever grateful.”

For more information about the East Devon Day Hospice Appeal call appeal fundraiser Sarah Smith on 01392 688095 or email

Hospiscare needs to raise £250,000 to complete and run the new-state-of-the art day hospice in King Street, Honiton. More than £40,000 has been raised so far.


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