Alec has been attending St Catherine’s Hospice Living Well Centre for two years. This Hospice Care Week he, and his wife, Julie share more about how our hospice has helped them.
I was made to feel so welcome
Alec says, “I looked forward to coming to the hospice every week before coronavirus, and it was helpful to meet other people in a similar situation. I was referred by the Royal Brompton Hospital and started attending St Catherine’s hour-long exercise class. Doing the classes helped me last a bit longer when I was walking around our village. I was made to feel so welcome when I came to the hospice that I told Julie to come along with me too. She watched the class from the back of the room, and we both got value from attending.”
Their kindness makes a difference
Julie adds, “When you first hear the word hospice you think someone’s in imminent danger of passing away, but that’s not the case. Alec has been carrying on since his diagnosis four years ago. The hospice has been really good at helping him to manage the symptoms of his illness, and their kindness and the way they value him as a person, even though he has an illness that can’t be cured makes a difference.
You’re treated like a somebody
Alec agrees, “At the hospice you’re treated like you’re a somebody. I want to stay at home if anything happens, but if I can’t, I don’t want to go to hospital, I’d like to come to the hospice.”
The support Julie has had, as Alec’s carer and spouse, has been helpful too
Julie explains, “When you’re faced with the prospect that the person you love, who you’ve been with for over 40 years, might not be around much longer it hits you like a brick. At the hospice there’s a sense that you will survive though, and that somehow, you’ll both get through it. It was wonderful to watch the exercise classes, and to have a chat, a cup of tea or a hand massage with some of the volunteers. They’ve been in a similar situation to what I am, so they know what I’m going through. There’s so much value in that understanding.
When someone you love is diagnosed with an illness, the rest of the world goes on as if nothing has changed, but the whole world has changed for the both of you. People don’t really understand how awful it feels in the following days, weeks and months after that news, as a patient or spouse, but at St Catherine’s people do.”
During coronavirus, Alec and Julie have continued to receive support from the hospice at home
Alec says, “We’ve been shielding and stuck in our flat, so I’ve not been able to walk much, but the weekly exercise class on Zoom with Lianne, the hospice physiotherapist, has been a help. We mainly do seated exercises, focusing on our head to our waist, so it’s worked out perfectly as I can do them from my chair. We’ve also continued to have phone calls from the hospice, and someone has checked up on how we are. Julie gets a call every week, as she was feeling a bit down and worried about me, and she really appreciates that support.
We’ve been so impressed with the way St Catherine’s does things. The hospice does a fantastic job and we’d like to thank you for what you do.”
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