Individual Care Matters

Can the Hospice of the Good Shepherd help me where I live?

We provide care for people with life limiting illnesses living in Chester, West Cheshire, part of South Wirral and the Deeside area of Wales.

What does the Hospice of the Good Shepherd do?

It provides first class care and support for people with life limiting illnesses who need expert help to control difficult symptoms, such as pain, especially, but not entirely, those with cancer. There are 12 beds for inpatients as well as outpatient clinics and day therapy facilities. In addition, with the help of community nurses, many patients and families are supported in their own homes. There are also other useful services, such as bereavement support and complementary therapy.

Can I refer myself to the hospice?

The only hospice service that you can do this for is the bereavement service. If you think you would benefit from any other aspect of care at the hospice, please speak to your GP or another health care professional.

What does palliative care mean?

The word palliative means to alleviate disease without curing (Concise Oxford Dictionary). The term palliative care is commonly used to describe care provided to relieve troublesome symptoms due to medical conditions for which there are no curative treatments available.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families;
  • enhances quality of life and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage clinical complications.

Palliative care can be provided by a range of health and social care staff and may be done alongside treatment intended to reverse particular conditions.

Specialist palliative care is the active, total care of patients with progressive, advanced disease and of their families. Care is provided by a multi-professional team who have undergone recognised specialist palliative care training.

Everyone who goes into a bed in the hospice dies, don’t they?

No! Around half of the patients who go into an in-patient bed at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd actually get discharged back to their own home or move to a care home or other appropriate location.

Do you care for children at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd?

The Reflect Service is available for childhood bereavement issues but there are no other children’s services at this hospice.  However, fortunately there are specialist children’s hospices in the area, such as Claire House and Hope House.

What are the visiting times?

There are no restrictions on visiting times. The ward nurses may advise on sensible times depending on individual circumstances.

How do I give comments, feedback or suggestions about the care provided at the hospice?

To enable us to constantly strive to improve our hospice services we are always keen to receive comments, whether positive or negative.  Please click here to do so, or write to the Chief Executive.

How do I make a complaint about the care I have received at the hospice?

We value your feedback, whether it’s a comment, suggestion, or complaint and would always wish to address and resolve a situation as quickly as possible.

At the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, we work hard to deliver high standards of service at all times and across the Organisation, but sometimes things go wrong. If you are unhappy with any aspect of our service, we would like you to let us know so that we can improve and try to make sure your experience is not repeated. In the first instance it is usually best to speak as soon as possible to the staff who are working with you or your family member directly. Alternatively you might like to speak to the Director of Clinical Services  on 01244 851091. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of these discussions or they not  appropriate you may wish to make a complaint,  preferably in writing to the Chief Executive, Rhian Edwards at the Hospice of The Good Shepherd , Gordon Lane, Backford Chester CH2 4DG.

Once we have received your complaint you will receive a written acknowledgement within 3 days and a full response will be sent to you within 28 working days. If you are not satisfied with our response you may escalate your complaint by contacting the following organisations:

The Parliamentary and Health and Services Ombudsman
Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
Helpline Telephone Number:  0345 015 0433

The Care Quality Commission
National Correspondence
Citygate, Gallowgate
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Telephone:  03000 616161

Will my care be affected if I complain?

No. Making a complaint will not affect your care in any way. Any information you give will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity. Information about your complaint will be kept separate from your clinical records.

How do I contact the Care Quality Commission about the care I have received at the hospice?

You can contact the CQC by phoning 03000 61 61 61, or emailing

What is Duty of Candour?

Candour is the quality of being honest and telling the truth. The Duty of Candour is a statutory (legal) duty which means that we, as a healthcare provider, must be open and honest with patients and families if something goes wrong that appears to have caused or could lead to significant harm in the future.

We are committed to delivering safe, high quality care. On occasion things do not always go to plan and despite our best intentions and safety checks being in place, a patient could be harmed whilst in our care. The Hospice of the Good Shepherd has always been committed to being open and honest with patients and their families when things go wrong. The Duty of Candour ensures that you have the confidence in us to be honest with you about your care and treatment, especially if there are problems. The Duty of Candour applies to all providers of healthcare who are registered with the Care Quality Commission.

What incidents are affected by the Duty of Candour?

The duty asks that healthcare providers ensure that patients, or their families (when the patient lacks capacity to decide regarding their own care or is deceased) are told openly, honestly and in a timely manner when mistakes happen, which are believed to have caused significant harm or a notifiable safety incident.

  • This is a serious incident which has resulted in either;
    • Moderate or severe harm to the patient
    • Prolonged psychological harm to the patient
    • A patient’s death

What can I expect to happen if something goes wrong?

  • Inform the patient and/or family as soon as possible about what has happened Provide the patient and / or family with a full and true account of all known facts
  • Explain any immediate actions taken to address the consequences of the incident and advise what we intend or need to do
  • Provide reasonable support to the patient and / or family
  • Share our findings with the patient and / or family
  • Identify the cause or causes of the incident
  • Let the patient and / or family ask any questions about the incident
  • Undertake further investigation and then put in writing the information already provided to date plus the outcome of the investigation
  • Offer a follow up meeting if required to discuss the outcome of the investigation

The Duty of Candour does not affect your right to complain. Informal or formal complaints about any aspect of care are welcomed as an opportunity to address concerns, regardless of whether the Duty of Candour applies or not. See the next FAQ below for how to make a complaint.


Money Matters

How much would it cost me to go to the hospice?

Nothing! All care provided to patients is totally free. The Hospice of the Good Shepherd is a registered charity and has to generate about 75% of its running costs through donations and other fundraising.

The Hospice gets all the money it needs from the government via the NHS, doesn’t it?

No! Only about one-quarter of the running costs come from the government. But importantly, services for individuals are always provided entirely free of charge.

So where does the hospice get the rest of the money it needs to run the services?

The other three quarters of the running costs have to be raised from individual and corporate donations, fundraising, gifts in wills (bequests and legacies), shop sales, etc. Thus we are independent of the NHS and government. The hospice is a registered charity and needs over £7,000 every single day to keep it running.

Gift Aid – what is it?

If you give money to the hospice and you pay income tax, then you can increase the value of your donation by 25% at no additional cost to you simply by signing a Gift Aid form.  So, for example if you donate £20 that becomes £25 for the hospice!


Other matters

What can I do to help?

There are numerous ways to help! You can volunteer, give money, fundraise, etc, etc.  See other areas of the website for more information!

How can I volunteer or apply for a job to work at the Hospice?

There are numerous ways that you can provide invaluable help by volunteering or come and work with us.

I am confused by some of the medical and other words that I have come across. What do they mean?

Hopefully the following Glossary may help.