For 26 years, HOSPICE Casa Speranței has developed full palliative care services that are being offered in day centres, outpatient and inpatient units, at the patients’ homes and in partner hospitals.
By Ashley Williams, Centre Director of HOSPICE
Until now, more than 26,000 people affected by incurable illnesses, both children and adults have received free palliative care from HOSPICE. They and their families have found out that they are not alone in their fight against disease.
At the beginning of the 90s, HOSPICE was founded by Graham Perolls OBE, and started with a small mobile medical team that offered home care to the patients suffering from an incurable disease in Brasov. Slowly, overcoming all obstacles, the organization developed and in 2002, Brasov saw the opening of the first centre of integrated palliative care services, bringing together all palliative care services under one roof. In 2006, HOSPICE services have extended to Bucharest with home care services and support in hospitals. In 2008, the home care mobile units in Făgăraş and Zărneşti were founded. In September 2014 a modern centre of palliative care was opened in Bucharest with over 5.7 million Euro invested in the centre.
In 2012, the Florescu family generously donated to HOSPICE a property located in Adunații-Copăceni, 20km away from Bucharest and it is here that the organisation has developed a socio-medical centre that will offer free services to children that suffer from rare and life-limiting illnesses and to their families.
The site, out in the fresh air and tree filled countryside will offer an ideal retreat for our beneficiaries. A place where the whole family will be taken care of in a programme of care, respite, education and therapy. The centre will house a 12 bed inpatient unit, a day centre, accommodation for parents and siblings and also a wide range of medical, social and counselling therapies. There are more than 5,000 children in the Bucharest area alone living with rare and life limiting conditions, and this centre will offer its services nationally to children with many different conditions. Week long respite stays will be offered to patients with the same or similar conditions so that visiting professionals and experts can provide specialised care and education for the patients and their families.
As the refurbishment of the building was drawing to a close, I was appointed to the role of Centre Director in January 2018 to move to Romania from the UK and manage the final stages of the development and prepare the site to move into service. I arrived in Bucharest on 1st February and have been working to develop the services we will host at the centre, alongside recruiting a wonderful team of dedicated professionals with a wealth of experience in child palliative care. Having worked with adults and children with disabilities in the UK and in educational settings, the work at Adunații-Copăceni seemed a wonderful and exciting challenge for me and I certainly have not been disappointed by this rewarding role. The work of HOSPICE as a whole is a truly admirable endeavor and I am very proud to be a part of this expansion of services. In this management position I have the good fortune to work closely with the founder of HOSPICE, Graham Perolls OBE and the HOSPICE Executive Director, Mirela Nemțanu.
The project at Adunații-Copăceni could not have been completed without the generous support of so many donors, corporate and individual, alongside many hours of volunteering from companies and individuals working on the site to renovate and redevelop the whole site. The site today is a wonderful testament to the hard work of all those involved so far and we are not finished yet.
We are always looking for sponsors, either financial or in kind, and volunteers to help us make this site a haven of peace and tranquility for the patients and families we will care for. If you or your company would like to know more about how you could support the new centre at Adunații-Copăceni, I would be glad to talk or meet with you and tell you more about the work we are doing and all the ways you could help.
I am 33 years old and from Lincolnshire in the UK. Prior to moving to Romania, I was managing my own company in London and founded a charitable enterprise offering educational courses for adults and children with disabilities. I was a director of a national charity and involved in a variety of political and voluntary roles. I now live in Bucharest and love the City and all that Romania has had to offer so far.