A CHARITY is increasing its support services to people across west Northumberland.

Tynedale Hospice at Home offers transport services for patients attending hospital, pre and post-bereavement services for patients, families and children, and also delivers care by registered nurses in patients' homes who have life-limiting diseases or for palliative care.

Chris Orife, head of care, said the charity works with Macmillan nurses, GPs, and practices in west Northumberland.

"Going forward, we want to offer complimentary therapies for patients and their main carer, such as massages, reiki, and aromatherapy treatments," she said.

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This will be available as six free starter sessions after which a donation will be sought as Chris said it is expected to be a heavily subscribed service.

Tynedale Hospice also intends to offer a counselling service in conjunction with GP practices. Chris explained clients on NHS waiting lists can wait up to nine months to receive counselling. However, once someone is referred to the hospice's pre and post-bereavement services, patients can access counselling quicker.

Prudhoe Coun. Gordon Stewart said: "Tynedale Hospice at Home is a highly respected local charity, and I am delighted to support them in rolling out vital additional support for residents in Prudhoe and surrounding areas."

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Several bereavement cafes are becoming available. One has been established in Hexham, another will be set up in Prudhoe, and Chris said it is hoped at least one more will be established to the north of west Northumberland.

"There's a huge need for additional support in west Northumberland. The pandemic exposed great disparities in the access to care in the region, and we're looking forward to delivering services across the region."

Over the next few months, services will be dispersed into towns and villages for people to access support close to home. 

"If you're someone in west Northumberland with a life-limiting condition, you know Tynedale Hospice has services to offer and you can access them," she said.

To be eligible for the hospice's services, patients must be on the palliative care register. 

"We're excited about our plans for growth, we've got an excellent reputation and we're working hard to build on that. Quality is as important as quantity, and we want to provide that quality of care to a greater number of families," she added.

To access Tynedale Hospice's services, patients must speak to someone at their GP practice or specialist care providers. A self-referral process will also be implemented this year.