Helen’s Trust is a local charity which offers help to people in North Derbyshire and the High Peak with terminal illness who want to stay at home in the final stages of their illness. They can help people of any age, with a perceived prognosis of less than 6 months and with any terminal illness. These can include cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and multiple end of life conditions.
Their ethos is that everyone should have the opportunity and choice to die in the familiar surroundings of home, if that is their wish.
Latest research shows that were they able to choose, 56% of people would wish to die at home.
The reality is that only 20% of people actually do.
Referrals can be made by anyone and are taken by one of the charity's experienced Referrals Coordinators (and assessed against their criteria). They have over 16 years experience of supporting people with terminal illness at home.
In 2017 they supported 250 people. Their services are free and are no means tested because they believe this can cause unnecessary delays in providing the help people need. Helen's Trust provides care, equipment and support and will consider requests for anything that will make the difference in enabling our beneficiary to stay in their own home.
They also provide signposting services for individuals and act as a resource in pulling packages of care together. They are proud of our effective working relationships with the other local adult hospices, Ashgate Hospicecare and Blythe House, and how Helen's Trust works collaboratively with them when they receive referrals for support at home.
Helen's Trust are governed by a Board of 6 trustees from varying professional backgrounds and additionally we are supported by approximately 70 volunteers who help us with fundraising and administrative tasks on an ad hoc basis.
They have over 16 years of experience of supporting people with terminal illness at home. Here are some of the things the relatives of beneficiaries have said:
‘I remember being contacted by Helen’s Trust who suggested that we accept some regular respite care. It meant that whilst I had no need to leave the house, I could go to the office and, just for a few hours, get lost in my work which I was trying to carry on and keep up with. Helen’s Trust were a Godsend and were there at our darkest moments when we needed help. The ladies would ring up and not only ask how Mum was but also how I was. They genuinely cared. They seemed instinctively to know what we needed without asking.
The carers were amazing. They treated Mum with respect and maintained her dignity. Considering what a proud and strong woman Mum was, that wouldn’t have been easy but Mum loved them all. They were very special. Then on one night a couple of days before Mum died Helen’s Trust had arranged for a carer to come over. They just knew that we needed it and when the carer turned up, it was like an angel appearing. It was a very harrowing night. I don’t know how we would have coped without her. She was brilliant.’
Jai says of Helen’s Trust, ‘there just aren’t sufficient words. They are a friend in the dark. I cared for Mum and they cared for Mum and me. They provide a very personal service, with both practical and emotional support. We would have been completely lost without them. We would have sunk.’
Extract from the testimony of the family of Joyce Brailsford
Ours is a true love story. We initially met through our shared love of motorcycling although we were just friends for a long time before we realised our feelings for each other. The house Roy and I bought and lived in all our married lives, I still live in today.
It was perfect for us and holds many happy memories, both in the house and the garden, which Roy and I developed together. Through the help and support we received from Helen’s Trust, Roy was able to take his last breath here and passed away peacefully whilst I held his hand.
Prior to Roy’s decline […] Helen’s Trust contacted me and offered to provide care for Roy in the evening in order for me to attend my keep fit class and group. They insisted that I took enough time to be able to relax and catch up with my friends before and after the meetings. It’s extremely difficult caring for someone with a terminal illness and especially when that is complicated with dementia. It can be very isolating. At least going out one evening and having that bit of respite meant that I had a bit of time for myself and this enabled me to continue to look after Roy better when I returned.
One month after celebrating our Silver Wedding Roy passed away in our lovely home. It was a good death and exactly as we both wanted - peaceful, calm and private. I feel very grateful that that was possible.
Extract from the testimony of Gill Middleton, speaking about her husband Roy