St Giles Hospice has launched a new Enhanced Respite Service in Sutton Coldfield to support carers and families who are looking after loved ones in the final year of their life.

The service, based at St Giles Hospice’s Supportive Care Centre in Lindridge Road, will have five healthcare assistants to help more than 450 patients in their homes each year.

It has been made possible by funding from the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, who have awarded the hospice a £98,298 grant to help finance its first year of operation.

St Giles Hospice at Home Clinical Lead Debby Varnam and Field Care Supervisor Suzanne Thomas.

The service, which is free-of-charge, was set up following a successful pilot scheme in Lichfield and is designed to improve respite care for patients in their last 12 months as well as improving the wellbeing of their carers by supporting them and offering them training where needed.

Debby Varnam, Clinical Lead of the Hospice at Home service at St Giles, said: “We recognise how difficult it can be to care for someone living with a terminal illness when the patient, their carers and their families are faced with a number of challenges – which is why we are here to help.

“Many patients want to be cared for in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by their family, so our Enhanced Respite Service is designed to help them do just that. With the help of our experienced healthcare assistants, patients will be able to stay at home for longer than might previously have been possible.

“I would like to thank the Trustees of the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust for their kind and generous support to make it possible for us to launch this service at this difficult time. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our income over the last 12 months as we have had to cancel our fundraising events and close our shops.”

The dedicated team will work closely with GPs, St Giles specialist community nurses, social services and other voluntary agencies. As well as weekly visits to enable carers to have a much needed rest and take a break, the Enhanced Respite Service gives them the resources, knowledge, skills and support they need to carry out their caring roles.

Debby added: “The grant award will have significant benefits by improving respite care for palliative patients, increasing the wellbeing of their carers and reducing the risks of them being unable to cope, and by reducing the number of unplanned hospital admissions.”

Tina Swani, CEO of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, said: “The Enhanced Respite Service team will be a real benefit to patients and their families throughout Sutton Coldfield and we are delighted to be supporting this much-needed service.”

The service will complement the current St Giles Hospice at Home service, based at the Supportive Care Centre in Sutton Coldfield, which supports patients at the very end of their lives, and other community healthcare services.

For more information about the service, please visit