One of our #volunteers, John, tells us why the hospice is so special ! #hospiceheroes #hospicecareweek #hospicecare #wearehospicecare

20170707_094955.jpgJohn Sutcliffe is a volunteer at Wirral Hospice where I support Day Therapy patients and work as a gardener. I was married for nearly 50 years and we have three children; two sons and one daughter, and six grandchildren. All live locally – I’m chief babysitter!

I was brought up in Wallasey and worked away at sea but when I returned I met Maria, a nurse from Upton who worked at Clatterbridge. We were married in 1969. Maria worked as a nurse for 40 years and I worked for Levers and Group 4 security. Maria and I had a common interest in travel and shared many happy holidays together. My main interests now are gardening and supporting Liverpool football Club.

How long has Wirral Hospice been a part of your life?
Approximately 15 years ago Maria was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which was when I first became involved in the hospice. Whilst Maria was coming to the hospice, I was involved in the Carers group and the Patients and Carers feedback group. Since losing Maria in 2015 I have continued to support the feedback group and have attended the Bereavement Support group and now, volunteering as a gardener and supporter of patients in the Day Therapy Unit.

During Maria’s time as a patient she was fortunate to experience all the services provided – initially as an outpatient, then attending the weekly Day Therapy sessions, then support back at home via the Hospice at Home service and also as an Inpatient. Throughout this time we saw the hospice grow and change through a number of building developments which created “The Hub” café, the new Outpatients department and the multi-disciplinary / patient and family support team areas. During the building works the services we attended were relocated but this did not compromise the amazing all round care we received from the wonderful doctors, clinical team and volunteers.

Being a member of the Patient Involvement group has been a great way for me to give back to the hospice: I was consulted on processes, leaflets and services and I also carried out a Healthcare inspection with external governing bodies which was a chance to share our positive experience of hospice care.

My volunteer role with Day Therapy patients is great as I am gardening with them – this is proving to be a wonderful alternative therapy, and even better we are now producing potatoes, tomatoes, onions and more that we can then pass to the kitchen to use which is really satisfying!

What are your Hospice Highlights?
The main highlight for me has to be the hospice staff – nothing is too much effort. Throughout all the services we experienced, the staff would go above and beyond to support not just Maria but myself and all the family.

When Maria attended her weekly Day Therapy session, I was invited to stay and attend a Carers group which was specifically for patients’ partners and/or their careers. The team who ran this provided wonderful opportunity for support where, over coffee and cake you could ask questions, talk through day to day issues and share experiences of life as a career with others going through the same thing, which helped to prepare you for the journey ahead.

The bereavement support was also a highlight for me – After some initial one to one counselling I joined a bereavement support group where we met every two weeks for about two years. These people became friends for life as we still meet up now and have even been away on holiday together!

Now a big highlight for me is to work with patients in Day Therapy who I know will benefit from their time here because they are going to be made to feel well. I will never forget what one of the consultants said to me when Maria was a Day Therapy patient “You don’t come here to die, you come here for us to control your medication, control your pain and get you home”.

What does hospice care mean to you?
For me the hospice care means the personal touch, where the staff have time to listen not just to the patient, but to the partners, the children and the extended family who are just as important to them. The wonderful team of medics and nurses have the skills to support families when they really do need it.

I couldn’t put a rating on Wirral Hospice – if I did it would be a million stars! You’re made to feel like family and it starts to feel like home.

I can never repay the team at Wirral hospice for what they did but volunteering is my way of giving something back.

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One of our patients, Tommy, tells us how he’s gone from repairing 40tonne wagons to #woodcarving ! #hospiceheroes #hospicecareweek #hospicecare #wearehospicecare

Tommy Collins 1Tommy Collins was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 and an operation to remove it in 2001. 17 years down the line and Tommy has been receiving chemotherapy. His specialist referred Tommy to Wirral Hospice St John’s.

“The only word that stayed with me during our conversation was ‘hospice’. I assumed you walked into a hospice to get fitted with a wooden overcoat to be carried out in so I was not looking forward to my first visit!

I arrive with a closed mind and was trying to come to terms with why I was here. The staff and volunteers greeted us with a smile and a cup of tea, and I was introduced to other patients. I had an appointment with one of the consultants, which was followed by a lunch (soup and a sandwich). Back to the Day Therapy room for some relaxation exercises then time for home.

I had much to think about but was not sure the hospice was for me; it was not what I’d imagined. I decide to give it another go next week though just to see.

Having returned the following week, things became clearer and I received good advice and information about health, social and financial matters and details of care support teams I could access for help. I was also given help in managing fatigue and breathlessness with COPD and met with a counsellor, which proved very helpful.

I was introduced to the craft table and given a lump of clay. I used to repair 40 tonne wagons on the side of motorways, so clay stood no chance and I made two mushrooms successfully!

I soon got around to making a nuisance of myself but I think I have helped to brighten the day for others a little. I have come to really look forward to my visits!

As well as clay mushrooms, I’ve also started making lots of wooden pieces: a wishing well, garden chair, tables, cake stands, planters and lots of bowls. I have really enjoyed this. It’s a good distraction for me and I find working with natural materials very therapeutic.

I would advise anyone to give the hospice a go if they are unsure but have been referred to it. Please don’t let the word ‘hospice’ put you off – they have been so supportive, not only to me but to my wife too. We have been given a refreshed perspective on my illness and everyone has been so supportive, I can’t thank the hospice team enough.”

Tommy’s wooden pieces will shortly be for sale in our Facebook shop – watch this space!

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Brenda has worked at the hospice for more than 33 years! #hospiceheroes #hospicecareweek #hospicecare #wearehospicecare

brenda taylor 1For Hospice Care Week, we thought it would be nice to share some stories of some of our staff, volunteers, patients and special friends. We’re delighted to share more about this lovely lady, Brenda Taylor, who has been part of Wirral Hospice St John’s for more than 33 years!

Meet Brenda Taylor:
I have lived on the Wirral all my life – I was brought up in Bromborough, went to school in Bromborough and I live in Eastham so I have always been local. I am married with two grown-up children; my son is in the Royal Navy and lives in Plymouth and my daughter and granddaughter live locally.

How long has Wirral Hospice been a part of your life?
A long, long time! I was 29 years old when I started at Wirral Hospice and I can tell you that it was the first of March 1984, in the morning, and it was a Thursday!!

I was the first and only Auxiliary Nurse to work a day shift on the Ward and this was my role for approximately 24 years. Also during this time I worked in the Outpatients clinic one day a week. For the last ten years I have worked across the Outpatients and Day Therapy units, and more recently co-ordinating Outpatients clinics, which is now my main role.

What are your Hospice Highlights?
Seeing the hospice grow from a small, single building (previously the old Clatterbridge children’s ward) to a larger purpose built Inpatient Ward, and then developing further to provide an Outpatient department has been a real highlight and I’m proud to have been a part of this growth.

Also for me personally, to support and assist patients who have been on such a long journey really is an honour, and a privilege to be able to assist patients and their families.

What does hospice care mean to you?
Treating people with compassion and dignity on a daily basis is big part of the hospice message and I see evidence of this every day here at Wirral Hospice St John’s. The relationships I have built with fellow staff and volunteers that I work alongside make them feel almost like family. After more than 33 years, and much development, Wirral Hospice often feels like my second home!

My wish for the future is that Wirral Hospice will continue to move forward providing even more quality care for the people of Wirral.

To find out more about our hospice care, please visit http://www.wirralhospice.org or call 0151 334 2778.

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Meet Jamie-Leigh #fundraiser and why she loves working for @wirralhospice

wirral_hospice_jamie_leigh_burgessWhat is your role at Wirral Hospice St John’s?

My main role as Fundraising Officer is to organise fundraising events from start to finish to ensure that they are organised successfully. This includes talking to local companies who could possibly help fund events we are hosting. I also give help and guidance to supporters who are organising new and exciting events for our charity.

Why did you choose to work/volunteer at the Hospice?

I have a personal connection with Wirral Hospice as my mum was cared for here six years ago. Therefore I know what an amazing job the hospice does and the care they offer to not only the patients but also their families too.

My family and I then began organising our own events once a year to raise money for the hospice. A job vacancy came up a couple of years ago and due to having experience of fundraising I felt I would be well suited for the role.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

I would say the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that I am part of helping to raise money for such a fantastic cause. Due to personally seeing the work they do I know exactly what the money I am helping raise is going to, which gives me a great sense of achievement. I’m very proud to be a Wirral Hospice fundraiser.

What events do you have coming up?    

The next upcoming event we have planned is It’s a Knockout which is an inflatable obstacle course based on the hit 70s TV show with 27 teams competing throughout the day. This is on Sunday 9th July in Birkenhead Park at 10:30 am onwards with food/bar, face painting, tombola, children’s fair rides and much more. It’s going to be an amazing family-friendly day of mayhem!

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Another event we have planned is a Ladies Lunch at an exclusive venue on Wed 19 July. This daytime event offers a two course meal and wine experience with a guest speaker and is a lovely opportunity for our volunteers and supporters to put on a pretty frock and have a lovely afternoon out.

How can people get involved?

People are welcome to come along to It’s a Knockout to offer support and spectate – there’ll be so much to see and do.

We also welcome volunteers at fundraising events to help out. Another big way of helping out with our Hospice fundraising events is by spreading the word to help us get as much publicity as possible, this can be done really easily by sharing Wirral Hospice’s Facebook and Twitter posts on social media.

If anyone is interested in upcoming Hospice events they can purchase tickets from our Fundraising Office by popping in or calling 0151 343 0778. A full Fundraising Calendar is here on our website.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Wirral Hospice volunteer, please contact Carole Snow, Volunteer Services Manager on 0151 334 2778.

Jobs & Volunteering opportunities are listed on our Hospice website and promoted on social media channels as they arise.

 

Why I’m walking for the Hospice #wirralcoastalwalk #wirral

annie johnson start lineFancy a bracing walk around the Wirral’s stunningly scenic coastline in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s? Avid walker Annie Johnson does!

Annie is no stranger to walking long distances, having an energetic dog, George, to look after. Annie can often be found walking along the beaches at Thurstaston, West Kirby, Hoylake and Meols.

Organised by the brilliant Rotary Club of North Wirral, this year’s Wirral Coastal Walk will take place on Sunday 18 June 2017. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get out together and get healthy with your friends, families, colleagues, four-legged friends and, at the same time, and help to make a difference to others on Wirral who need specialist care.

As a positive attitude to helping people support their charities, the organisers of the walk have made it possible for everybody to participate on accessible terrain. You can walk at your own pace and either walk for the full 15 miles from Seacombe to Thurstaston or there are completion points at 4 or 10 miles along the route. Canine companions are most welcome to take part free of charge!

As Annie explains, “I am a lifelong supporter of Wirral Hospice St John’s and, as well as being a Trustee for the last three years, I regularly volunteer at fundraising events and have participated in several long-distance challenges to help raise money for the charity, I even abseiled down the side of Wallasey Town Hall dressed as a jelly bean!!”

“My late father and two of my best friends received end of life care at the Hospice, another friend received pain relief and symptom control so I have witnessed first hand the outstanding care and comfort they give to patients, their families, carers and loved ones. It makes all the difference when you are at this incredibly difficult stage to have their support and care.  It is so important to keep the Hospice for the good of all the Wirral community.  I will be proudly be walking the distance for them on 18 June, and I will be using it as a training session for my 7th trekking holiday in Nepal this Autumn.”

Wirral Hospice St John’s needs £3.6 million each year to continue to look after patients with terminal or life-limiting illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, respiratory and neurological conditions.

To request a registration form, t-shirt and sponsor forms, please call Corinne McGinty on 0151 343 0778 or email fundraising@wirralhospice.org, thank you.

Please click here to make a donation to Wirral Hospice St John’s work or to set up a fundraising page to help us raise funds.

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