We took a tour of St Elizabeth Hospice

IPPlus Plc supports a local charity throughout the year by raising money through various activities such as dress down days, raffles and staff nights out. For the last two years, we have supported St Elizabeth Hospice, and we are pleased to announce that we will be continuing to support them throughout the next year.

As we have become more involved with the Ipswich Hospice Partnership Fundraiser, Brian Taylor, offered us a tour of the facilities. Mary Goldsmith and Kym Hynes of the Charity team and I headed over yesterday to meet Brian.

On arrival, we were greeted by a very cheerful, smiley lady who took our names and went to let Brian know of our arrival. Meanwhile, the helpful receptionist signed us in, and we went to have a nose round the hospice shop which was full of fun cards, sweeties, and small gifts. When Brian came out to meet us, he ran us through some facts. The hospice has been open for 26 years and provides care for 2,000 patients annually, although they estimate that there are hundreds more that could benefit from their work that is not currently utilising the service. The hospice costs £9 million a year to run with only 27% of this coming from the government. The remaining money is raised by the Hospice via channels such as legacies (people leaving money in their wills), the lottery, donations, fundraising and investment income.

SEH pie chart

During the tour, Brian showed us the Reflections room – a place for both family members and patients to take some quiet time complete with a variety of faith books. Relative rooms – where friends and relatives can stay the night, and one of our favourite features. The memory tree – made up of metal leaves engraved with loved one’s names.

SEH memory tree

The inpatient ward was beautifully decorated in bright pastels with the bays clearly marked with their flower name to reduce any confusion amongst patients. Brian explained that contrary to popular belief, inpatients don’t necessarily pass in the hospice. Some stabilise and return home for a time, and some are there for respite care; this is for a week or two to allow their full-time carer (often a spouse or relative) the chance to have a break. One of the stand-out features of the modern, spacious ward was the bathrooms. The large rooms allow nurses to bring beds right into the room and, using hoists, lift patients into specially made baths. The baths can be moved up and down to assist the patients getting in and out. They also have jets, soothing music and sensory lights. These baths provide a wonderfully relaxing experience for the patients.

Moving through to the outpatient area, Brian showed us hairdressing rooms where hairdressers and barbers come to tend to the hair of both in and out patients. These people donate their time and provide a sympathetic and sensitive service to their clients. There were also kitchen areas, a specialty adapted gym and an atrium where activities take place.

The most stunning aspect of the building was the gardens. In the centre was an established pond where we saw a patient feeding the fishes. This area is surrounded by a wide patio which allows inpatients to be wheeled out in their beds on nice days to enjoy the garden in comfort. Recently developed, the sensory garden incorporates aspects from a number of designs by local primary schools. The finished area has raised beds, a summer house and lawn games like jenga and connect 4.

SEH garden

As we moved around the different areas, what was really notable was the attitude of the staff. All dressed in bright, colourful clothes, all smiling and all friendly. As guests they made us feel very welcome and comfortable. St Elizabeth Hospice is staffed by 150 paid employees and supported by a further 1,000 volunteers, from shop assistants to volunteers.

We are proud of the work we have undertaken so far as an organisation and it was great to see that our money is making a huge difference. We are focussed on strengthening our relationship with SEH over the coming year by getting involved in some different activities.


Elizabeth Brabner.