We provide Hospice care & support to patients and their loved ones living in Kent and East Sussex. Discover how we can help you.
“Since the beginning of the lockdowns, I hadn’t been out – I’d been at home for nearly two years before I was admitted to the In-Patient Ward. I was managing by myself, but there came a time when the doctor thought I needed a bit more support. At this point, the Hospice Outreach Service came to see me at home and helped me to carry on living there for another eight months – by this point, things were becoming a struggle, and they suggested that I might benefit from a short stay on the Ward, at Pembury.
From the moment I moved in, the nurses and all the staff on the Ward were wonderful. They’d do anything I needed them to, from helping with my medication, to helping me to feel good about myself. It’s the little things I missed, but they helped me to feel normal.
Staying on the Ward meant that my family could come to visit – my sister lives in Hastings, so she visits more often, and we just catch up; it’s nice to be able to see her as it breaks the day up and helps me not to lose touch with the outside world. My two daughters and granddaughter come to visit as well, but at weekends and they stay for a bit longer – with them, I was able to go out into the Hospice gardens for a short while, something I just wouldn’t have been able to do at home.
I breathe through a tracheotomy which means I’ve no voice, making it hard to communicate with people, without them having to lip read, or me write things down for them. This doesn’t stop the nurses though, taking time to understand what I’m saying, giving me their time, with nothing else getting in the way.
Staying on the Ward, they didn’t just look after me medically, but also helping me to feel good about myself, helping to do my hair, my nails, talking to me, and just listening.
“They listened to me even though they couldn’t hear me.”
I love dogs, but for years now I’ve not had one of my own. A few years ago, I would walk my friends’ or neighbours’ dogs, but since I’ve not been going out, I’ve not been able to see them. Being on the Ward meant I could have visitors, and they were able to bring their dogs to see me too! The Hospice is a special place, giving me moments like that which just pick me up. My eyesight is also going, which makes things difficult too – simple things to pass the time, like completing a puzzle made all that bit harder. Not being able to talk is hard for so many reasons – all the things we take for granted in life have some degree of speech in them.
As soon as you can’t speak, you notice it, everywhere. Taking part in a conversation, getting someone’s attention, asking for help, telling a quick story – all things taken away when you can’t speak. From the little things, to the big things too – I like singing, it’s been a big part of my life and is something I hugely enjoy – it can leave me feeling so left out and remind me that I am unwell, when I’m otherwise feeling okay. Most people lip read when I’m speaking, but for some people that can be difficult – I think I’ve said something to someone, and they’ve not understood me! Thankfully, that doesn’t happen with the Hospice nurses – they have time for me, to listen and really engage with me.
My stay on the Ward helped me to get my symptoms stable, and to work out what was next for me. When at the Hospice, I didn’t know where I was going next once they’d looked after me, but I’ve now moved into a nursing home, so that I can carry on living independently, but where I need the extra support, it’s there for me straight away, just like on the Ward.”
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