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sussex beacon

Specialised HIV Respite & Palliative Care

We take a look at The Sussex Beacon, a long established respite facility. Sussex Beacon is a clinical facility offering convalescent, respite and terminal care for people with HIV and AIDS, both on a residential and day-care basis. The environment is medically orientated and provides patient care rather than hostel facilities. The Sussex Beacon recognise that the needs of people with HIV and AIDS have changed significantly since they opened and hope to reflect this in the care they provide and adapting in the ever changing face of HIV.

The Sussex Beacon has registered nursing staff on duty 24 hours a day. The nursing staff wear name badges which tell you who they are and their role. The registered nurses wear blue and white uniforms whilst the healthcare assistants wear grey and blue. On admission a nurse will be identified who will take a special interest in your care, particularly in relation to discharge planning. This is your “named nurse”.

To provide continuity if your nurse is going on holiday or night duty, a second nurse will be identified to act as your “named nurse”. The Clinical Medical Officer (CMO) is on duty from Monday to Friday and is the doctor you will see on admission for an examination.  The CMO is responsible for your direct medical care whilst you are a resident at The Sussex Beacon.  There is an on-call system with a team of experienced doctors who provide cover when the CMO is off duty. Each Thursday  Dr. Andreas Hiersche (Consultant in Palliative Medicine), Dr. Duncan Churchill or Dr. Martin Fisher (Consultant in HIV/AIDS) and a doctor from the community team, visit The Sussex Beacon to discuss clients' individual clinical needs. If you are a resident outside of East Sussex, and have been referred for low dependency respite care. medical intervention will be based on the treatment plan suggested by your regular clinical doctor. The CMO will speak to your regular clinical doctor before and after discharge to ensure continuity of care.

What will I find at the Sussex Beacon?

On admission an assessment of your physical, social and emotional needs will be undertaken. In most cases this assessment will continue for three days. This is to allow the staff to get to know you and gain an overall understanding of your needs. A plan of care designed to meet these needs will then be formulated between you and your nurse. The nurses and healthcare assistants will do their best to make you feel comfortable and valued as a client. It may be that although you are feeling physically quite well you are in need of some extra support, or that you require a place where you can learn about new medications with nursing staff on hand to give advice.


There are three main meals a day and a member of the nursing staff will discuss any special requirements with you. Nursing staff will organise dietary supplements for you. Mealtimes are as follows: Cooked Breakfast: 9.00-10.15am – Lunch: 12.30-1.30pm – Dinner: 6.00pm. Meals may be taken in the dining room, your bedroom or in the upstairs lounge. Visitors are welcome to join you at meal times. A price list for visitors is available in the day room. Please let the catering staff know in advance if you are having guests at mealtimes.

Complementary Therapies.

The Sussex Beacon's philosophy is to care for clients in an holistic way to meet their individual needs. There are a range of therapists available throughout the week. Therapies include acupuncture, aromatherapy, healing, massage and hypnosis. The therapists are all qualified and offer their services free of charge. It is important to note that as the therapists are volunteers they are not always available. If there is a certain therapy you would like to receive whilst a resident please let the nursing staff know in advance. If you already receive complementary therapies in the community please feel free to invite your therapist to The Sussex Beacon. You will be responsible for any expense incurred. Oil burners are available from the nursing staff on request.

Pastoral Services.

The Sussex Beacon is visited by local spiritual leaders including a chaplain and Roman Catholic priest. Any other clergy or spiritual leaders are welcome to attend at your request.

Out and About.

The Sussex Beacon is situated approximately 2 miles from Brighton town centre and the sea front. It is easily accessed by a limited bus service. A timetable is available from the Nursing Office or the main reception. Although access to the town centre by foot takes approx. 40 minutes it is best to note that The Sussex Beacon is situated at the top of a very steep hill. Staff will be pleased to supply you with a list of taxi numbers. It is anticipated that clients will make their own way to The Sussex Beacon on the day of admission.

Prior to Admission & House Rules.

Clients attending The Sussex Beacon for a stay are advised to contact the Nursing staff if they have questions about medication, special diet requests or other special needs. You are requested to arrive before 2.00pm on the day of admission. Smoking is allowed in your room but not in the communal areas. Please restrict the amount of cash and valuables you bring with you as provision for safekeeping of these is minimal. You should bring clothes, toiletries, books, Walkman and any items you wish to personalise your room during your stay. Some non-smoking rooms are available.

You are asked to bring enough medication for the duration of your stay. On admission you will be advised if the medication policy which at present requires you to surrender your medications for the nurse to dispense. This is in order to meet the requirements of the health authority. A policy allowing residents to self medicate is currently being piloted. Please bring your medicine in the original labelled containers, if this is not possible please contact one of the nursing staff before admission. The Sussex Beacon do not wish to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of drug and alcohol use, however in a communal environment it is important that problems which may occur as a result of drug and alcohol use are addressed. The policy with regard to drug and alcohol use will be discussed with you on admission, it should be noted that disruptive behaviour which occurs as a result of you being under the influence of drink or drugs may result in you being asked to leave.

Visitors & Visiting.

Your relatives and friends may visit you at any time during the day or evening but it is requested that they leave by 11.30pm. Alternative arrangements may be arranged after discussion with the nursing staff. In special circumstances it may be possible for a friend or relative to stay overnight, any request with regard to this should be made in advance to your nurse. There is a direct telephone line to the residential unit via a portable payphone. This can be used in the privacy of your room. Your friends/family may telephone The Sussex Beacon enquiring about your well being. Please let the nursing staff know if you would prefer us not to share information with them.


The Sussex Beacon have an excellent volunteer service and you may meet volunteers working in different capacities during your stay. Generally, the only volunteers working on the clinical floor are the complimentary therapists and the lunchtime volunteers who bring around the tuck trolley and assist in serving lunch. All volunteers are supervised and follow the same confidentiality code as other Sussex Beacon staff. The Sussex Beacon volunteer is a highly valued member of the team, this is reflected in their selection process, the training, supervision and on-going support that they provide throughout the time that a volunteer is with them, an important support service, that many other organisations forget. The Sussex Beacon holds a monthly volunteer meeting providing the opportunity to meet other team members and volunteers. There is also a quarterly newsletter.

Other Services.

The Sussex Beacon has a Client's Forum as a link between clients and management. The forum meets every six weeks and all clients are welcome. There are clients who are available to talk to you about any aspect of your stay and your comments will only be used with your agreement. The representative will visit once a week, or you can arrange an appointment through your nurse. You can also write to your representative and leave your comments in a sealed envelope for them. The Sussex Beacon utilise a number of fundraising initiatives, including a very successful charity shop situated in Hove town centre. The shop is doing very well in the few weeks since the re-opening and is looking for more volunteers to help staff the shop. If you can spare a few hours a week to help in the Sussex Beacon Charity Shop, please contact either the Shop Manager Marc McMoran on 01273 206302, or the Volunteers Manager, Gary Winter on 01273 694222.

The Sussex Beacon
Bevendean Road, Brighton BN2 4DE
Tel: 01273 694222. Fax: 01273 682740

Respite and Retreat can be arranged and funded by your local Social Services Department. For further information on Respite and Retreat and your entitlement click here

Take a look at KPS' overview of Respite & Retreat

Since the disolution of the Bethany Trust in November 2003 KPS has reviewed the limited specialised Respite and Retreat facilities available within the UK. By clicking here you can view KPS' overview of these facilities.

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