BLOG Supporting patients to die at home

August 2021


For many people who are nearing the end of their life their wish is to die at home. It is comforting for them to be in their own surroundings with their loved ones around them.

Debbie Robson, team leader of the Prospect@Home service, talks about the work of the hospice to support patients at home in their final weeks and days of life.


Choice is important to all of us. For example what we choose to have for our dinner, shopping for an outfit or our holiday destination.

When you are nearing the end of your life you are faced with choices such as what care you would like to have and where you want to die.

At Prospect Hospice our approach is asking patients what matters to them and we give them and their loved ones personalised care and support.

Many of our patients choose to die at home and in fact, most of the hospice’s care is delivered in the community.

This is a surprise to some people as they assume all our care takes place in the hospice building, but it’s our job to care for patients wherever they choose to die.

The Prospect@Home service supports patients and their families in their homes by providing personal care to patients, practical and emotional support and respite care to their loved ones.

We also train carers of patients to give injectable medications for symptom control. This enables them to support their loved one by alleviating their pain and anxiety.

Our service operates 24/7 and typically the patients we look after are in the last month of their life.

We work collaboratively with colleagues from the hospice and those in the community, including district nurses and GPs, to ensure care is co-ordinated for each patient.

Our staff is a mix of healthcare assistants and registered nurses and they have a range of skills to support patients at the end of their life. We also have volunteers who provide companionship to patients we look after.

For families and carers a much valued part of our service is the night sits. An experienced member of the team stays overnight at patients’ homes and tends to the patient’s needs. This enables the patient’s loved one or family member to sleep without worrying and they can begin the next day feeling rested and refreshed.

A patient who was in a great deal of pain liked to be massaged with salt as it was beneficial for her. Her husband told us of his gratitude that our staff were able to massage her through the night for several hours to alleviate her distress.

Every patient is unique and to fulfil their wishes makes us all proud.

A patient we were looking after had expressed to her family that after she died she wanted to leave her home uncovered in the sunshine.

When she died we washed and dressed her in the clothes she had chosen and she was taken outside with her family with her, as she had wanted.

Prospect@Home began in 2008 after we identified there was a need for hospice care delivered in patients’ homes and in the hospice’s financial year 2020/21 we cared for 487 patients through this service.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the hospice supporting more patients at home and we anticipate this trend will continue.

People are often unaware that our services are free. We are forever grateful for the support we receive from the community who raise the money to cover the cost of our essential care.

The Prospect@Home service is an important part of hospice care. It enables patients to stay – and die – in their home as per their choice.


Debbie Robson is a clinical nurse specialist and team leader of Prospect@Home. She has been a qualified nurse for 13 years and joined Prospect Hospice seven years ago. She is also a trustee of the National Association for Hospice at Home.


*For more information about Prospect@Home visit  our web page here

If you would like to refer yourself or a loved one to Prospect Hospice please call our Single Point of Contact team on 01793 816124 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) or our 24 hour advice line on 01793 816109.

Back to News