20 Beds celebrate the lives of patients, volunteers, and staff who make St Michael’s one of the region’s most inspirational places.
20 Beds tell the story of St Michael’s, recalling its founding members and detailing how it has evolved over three decades. The book features a foreword from long-time St Michael’s supporter, HRH Princess Alexandra, who in May 2016 will open a new unit at the hospice.
Most importantly, however, it allows life-limited patients to tell their stories. They speak frankly, openly and honestly about their lives, their illnesses and their hopes for the future – offering unique and unparalleled perspective. 20 Beds are their legacy – and it is one that will inspire all who read it. It was created during a six-month period at St Michael’s. We interviewed patients and ghost-wrote their stories, giving them the chance to speak about their lives, their hopes, and their fears. The book is a real tear-jerker, but the thing that emerges most of all is the sense of hope. It’s a happy book. It’s a celebratory book. It’s one that kills the myth that hospices are all doom and gloom. They are not. ’20 Beds’ changes the narrative and celebrates the magnificent work of St Michael’s.’
Innovative fund-raising projects like ’20 Beds’ are likely to become the norm rather than the exception. The publishing team who put together this book see a time when they might be repeating the experience for other members of the hospice movement.
The number of young adults living with life-threatening or limiting conditions is also on the increase, and there is evidence of growing numbers of youth with highly complex needs moving from children’s services into adult care.
At present, Hospices care for individuals with a wide range of conditions; Cancer, motor neuron disease, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease and much more. Hospices also support people with various life-limiting conditions including dementia.
Hospices are not ‘one size fits all’ operations. The majority operate out of in-patient hospice units or people’s homes. The hospice view is about people’s quality of life in their final days. As a result, hospices are as diverse in their settings as they are in their organization.