Legal matters are one of the last things a patient needs to be fretting about when they are facing the end of their life.
That is why St Nicholas Hospice Care is highlighting one of its valuable – yet sometimes underused – services.
Legal surgeries are held at the hospice every month, giving patients the chance to talk to a solicitor who will be able to answer questions on any legal issues troubling them. And with the start of a new year, it could be a good time to get everything in order.
The service, which operates thanks to the generosity of the participating solicitors, who give up their time for free, has been running for nearly two years. However, it is not utilised as much as it might be, according to Margaret Lee, legacies officer.
“We tend to have only one or two people who take it up each month and we think people known to the Hospice do not realise the service is there,” she said.
“The idea is that if you’re dying, part of the acceptance process is putting your affairs in order. This initiative allows people to achieve peace of mind, at a place they are familiar with, and which will not cost them anything.
“We have 14-18 solicitors who take part on a rota basis. They can help to deal with anything that is troubling patients or their loved ones.”
The service is free for patients receiving care or support from the Hospice, their families and carers.
“We really want to let more of our patients and their families know that we offer this service. Hospice care is about offering support to people on all levels,” added Margaret.
The legal surgeries are usually held on the last Wednesday of each month between noon and 1pm. Each month, a solicitor from a different local firm is available for consultation. The next surgery takes place on January 26.
Anyone interested can turn up for an informal chat or make an appointment by calling Margaret Lee on 01284 755000. For those unable to travel to the hospice, the solicitor can offer advice by telephone.
Conversations with solicitors are private and hospice staff are not party to anything discussed.
If a patient’s concern requires legal advice or intervention they will able to make their own decision about how to engage with a legal firm.
Firms taking part in the scheme include: Partridge and Wilson; Burnett Barker; Nicholas Wray; Greene and Greene; bestofhaverhill member Adams Harrison; George and Co; Metcalfe, Copeman and Pettefar; Pooley, Bendall and Watson; Rudlings and Wakelam; Whatley Lane; Wayman and Long; Gross and Co; Kester Cunningham John; Ashton Graham; Atkins Thomson; Jackaman Smith and Mulley and Prettys.