How we’re helping people live well for longer 

News and Blog

We’re always looking for innovative ways to reach our community and to break down the misconception that hospices are simply a place you go to die. 

On our doorstep, we know that we have a growing and aging population. We also know that if elderly people become increasingly frail, it dramatically impacts their quality of life.  

We decided to tackle this problem and try something new. Put simply, we decided to help older people live well for longer.  

Thanks to funding from Hospice UK’s Kirby Laing Foundation grant programme, we’ve started our Live Well for Longer course for people aged over 65 who had been identified as being at risk of frailty, and not currently under our care. The aim is to improve wellbeing, talk about future wishes and help access additional community services. 

Each week the course focuses on a different topics covering: exercise, medication, mental health, advance care planning and local support groups.  

Our five-week pilot course in Dorking was such a success that three more courses are now planned. The next one is being held at Dorking Christian Centre and starts on Tuesday 27 February, 2pm-4pm. The programme runs for five weeks, at the same time each week.

Two Primary Care Networks have also been so impressed they are planning to set up their own programmes, with St Catherine’s providing the expertise on advance care planning and difficult but important conversations. 

Jenny Coombes, Senior Specialist Nurse leading the project said:

“We are so keen to run this programme because we know that living with frailty means you have a much higher risk of sudden changes that can reduce your independence. We want to help older people live as well as they can, for as long as they can, whilst also breaking down barriers about hospice care. 

“The response from our first group of attendees was incredible. They were so engaged, happy to take part in exercises, willing to share their thoughts and fears and make new connections with those around them. There was so much warmth and humour from the group, even when discussing tough topics, and I know they have been spreading the word about future courses among their own networks. It was an absolute pleasure to run and we’re looking forward to the next one.” 

The first course was attended by 13 to 16 people and resulted in 80% of attendees having a medicine review with their doctor. Two attendees also joined a new community group and two have volunteered to help with the next course.  

Barbara Arnold who attended the course said:

“I’ve found the sessions absolutely brilliant. I have been in touch with my relations and have told them what I would like in later life if I get very poorly. The medication information was very good.   I didn’t realise that as you get older your medication might not be suitable for you any longer.” 

James Newman another attendee said:

“The sessions have been an education. It’s been so nice to listen to what other people have to say and get out for a couple of hours. It was faultless. I try to exercise more now – I do my steps walking around the park and I feel so much better afterwards. Everyone was so friendly, especially the people who run it. They should have it every week!” 

To find out more about our Live Well for Longer courses contact