Staff at a hospice are celebrating their fifth anniversary of a home care service this month.

St Clare Hospice nurses have provided free, short-term care for more than 2,000 people with life-limiting illnesses across West Essex since 2014.

In the 2017/18 financial year alone the Hospice at Home team in Hastingwood supported 770 families.

Martin Dale from Saffron Walden spoke about the care he and his wife Helen had received.

He said: “The Hospice at Home team were able to step in and help us when Helen and I needed them – they were so friendly and were there for you, if you just wanted to talk.

"It is never easy, especially when you are caring for your wife, but they made it easier.

"When the Hospice at Home night sitter came on the scene, it really was a God send.”

Sonia Haigh, who manages the service, said: “Our team has worked so hard over the past five years and we are delighted to have been able to support so many hundreds of patients and their families.

"Home is special and being able to provide support to people in the comfort of their own home, if that is where they want to be, is a real honour for St Clare.”

Ms Haigh also urged medical, social and voluntary professionals to continue making referrals to the Hospice at Home team/

She said: “Hospice at Home care can help to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, provide short-term care for rapid discharge from hospital while awaiting a care package and provide hands-on compassionate care in the last weeks of a person’s life in the comfort of their own home.”