In December 2017, Robert’s brother Douglas was admitted to the In-Patient Ward with prostate cancer that had spread to his bones. Visiting Douglas was the first time Robert stepped foot inside the Hospice.
Douglas died in mid-January 2018 and Robert, now 66, believes the nurses on the ward “couldn’t have done anything more for him. They did everything. They knew what he wanted before we did, and you never had to ask for anything. Everyone here wants to help, people of all different ages, men and women. It is such a happy, friendly atmosphere, and the people coming here need that.”
Robert never expected that one day he would be accessing Hospice services as a patient, but since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2018, Robert now visits Hospice Day Service every week. After his diagnosis, Robert’s symptoms left him struggling to walk: “When I became ill, it was too much for my partner to look after me. I didn’t want her to worry, and so we turned to the Hospice for help. If I wasn’t here, I would lonely, stuck at home. Hospice Day Service gets me doing things. I like being with people. I’d bring anyone ill here to show them there is somewhere they can learn about their illness. I want people to know that a diagnosis isn’t a one-way ticket and that you can make yourself feel better. It’s all the little things you don’t expect, like the therapy dogs. It all brings comfort to people and adds up to much more than you realise.”
Robert accesses physiotherapy every week at the Hospice. “Physio is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The encouragement from the physio is extraordinary. She helps every single person there, and what’s so lovely, is that once they’re there, everyone really wants to do this, to help themselves. When I first came, I couldn’t walk. After two weeks in physio, she had me walking. Now I don’t even need a stick! When I leave physio, I feel better than when I came - no exceptions.”
Robert spent many years working in the care sector, and offers a unique perspective: “When families lose someone and want to know where to make donations, I always suggested the Hospice and now my colleagues do the same. We are so lucky to have this facility.”
“I’d pay to come here, so it’s the least I can do,” says Robert.
“The Hospice is invaluable. It is quite extraordinary to me to be welcomed through this door by someone who actually cares. It sounds silly but this is a second home. As soon as I walk in, I feel warm. Everyone is welcome.”