Do you just care for patients with cancer?

Many of our patients have cancer, but we care for anyone who has a
life limiting illness, such as motor neurone disease.

Do you care only for old people?

St Leonard’s will accept patients who need our care at any age over 18. We often care for younger people with children.

Do you only take people from the City of York?

No – we serve a wide area of Yorkshire, including York, Easingwold, Selby, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Pocklington, Tadcaster, Pickering and Helmsley.

Are you part of the National Health Service?

No. Like most hospices, St Leonard’s is an independent charity. We work closely with our NHS colleagues, but we value our independence.

Doesn’t the government meet your costs? Why do you need to do so much fundraising?

We receive 27% of our healthcare costs from the government through the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group. The remainder of just over the £5 million annual running costs has to come from legacies, donations and fundraising.

Do you make a charge to your patients to help cover your costs?

We never make a charge either to our patients or to their families. Hospice care is free, and is offered to people solely on the basis of their medical need.

Does everyone who comes into the Hospice die there?

Definitely not. While quite a lot of out patients are with us at the end of their lives, others come to have their symptoms stabilised and spend approximately two weeks at the Hospice. Around half of the patients who are admitted to our In-patient unit are discharged, either to their own home or to a nursing home.

Does the Hospice support calls for voluntary euthanasia?

The philosophy of St Leonard’s Hospice is to care for people until they die. We never seek to shorten life and are here to bring a high quality of care to our patients. Our patients and their families tell us that they do achieve a quality of life when they are in our care and that is what we aim to provide for them.

Aren’t Hospices sad places?

You’d be surprised! It is always sad when someone dies, of course, but hospice care is about living life as fully as possible right to the end. So St Leonard’s, like all hospices, is a place of light and colour, where you’ll hear people laughing as well as crying, smiling as well as looking sad – just as you will anywhere else. It’s as normal as possible, while we look after very ill people and their families.

How is the Hospice different from a hospital?

Unlike a hospital, our role is not to try to cure people but to make the last stages of their life as comfortable and pain-free as possible. So, while we do have drugs and equipment, as well as nurses and doctors, just like a hospital, our emphasis is more on looking after the whole person – emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. That often includes spending time sitting with them and listening to them – something there’s often not a lot of time for in a hospital. You’ll also find that we try to make our rooms and public spaces as comfortable as possible – perhaps more like the patients’ own homes than a hospital.