What does the word ‘Hospice’ mean to you?
If you asked that question to the patients at Wirral Hospice St John’s, you’d probably be surprised at the answer. Largely speaking, they are confident and optimistic for the future, sure in the knowledge that, although seriously ill, they are living their lives as fully and as comfortably as possible. Hospice means a safe haven, where they are helped to live how they want as well as they can.
Diagnosis of a serious incurable condition comes as a shock to most people. They often envisage a short and bleak future. The Hospice comes in at this point and, in addition to giving care and helping people to stabilise their conditions, it gives them confidence for the future.
John, is living with cancer, he has been coming to Wirral Hospice for 18 months, “When I was diagnosed, life became absolutely full. Doctors, nurses, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy: something was going on all the time. Then, at the finish, I felt cast adrift – busy every day of the week, and then nothing. Then the Hospice came into my life, and offered me a lifeline. It was a regular thing that I could rely on.”
Barbara, who has been a patient at the Hospice for two years, said she was initially frightened at the thought of it. “Ignorance leads to fear. But, in fact, it’s become the place to meet people who are in a similar position, and share experiences with them.”
Bill, who has been attending the Hospice for two years, says “I can talk about things here that I can’t easily talk about at home.”
All three are fulsome in their praise of Hospice staff, but it is the comradeship between them that really stands out. They talk about how the Hospice has supported people close to them too, “Everyone has become like family and we all support one another.”
The patients are enthusiastic about the new extension at the Hospice and the increase in facilities it will offer. They have taken an active role in its interior design, helping to make it warm, welcoming and family-friendly. Furthermore, they will play their part in reaching out to new patients who are referred to the Hospice, and anticipate being able to help newcomers ease their worries and concerns for both themselves and their families.
“I know what this place has done to help me,” said John. “I will do anything I can to spread the word.”
There are a number of ways you can support Wirral Hospice’s Families Matter Appeal. Thank you for any support you can give, we really need your help!