This Hospice Care Week the hard work of nurses and volunteers is being celebrated.
St Wilfrid’s Hospice nurse Victoria Mainstone has shared a story from a patient, Jackie Sharpe, who told it shortly before she died earlier this year in July. Vikki said, “Jackie had a smile for everyone. She loved being here and was very popular.”
Jackie was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer on Christmas Eve last year, aged 69. She said, “It was impossible to get my head around. In just four days, my life changed completely.
“There is no curing this – there is only palliative care to ease things and to keep me as healthy as possible until I die. I thank my lucky stars that of all the places I could end up, I ended up at St Wilfrid’s. It has meant the world to me at a difficult time in my life. Of course, at first, I was very nervous. You come here and you expect to die – so to feel better has been wonderful.
“The volunteers all knew my name from the first day, whether bringing me an egg for breakfast or checking in on me later in the day, I am always their priority. It makes you feel not ‘in the way’ and cared about. After a few hours, I felt it in this place, the caring was of a quality that went to the bones of the building and the people in it.
“Dignity. That’s a very good word for what they have given me. For the very first time since I became ill I have been treated with dignity, like I am a valuable human being. Extreme kindness, patience and empathy; those are the things you see in the faces of the people here.
“Everyone who has visited me has noticed it.
“I’m still learning what a hospice means, how they look after loved ones, what they do in the community: supporting you to live and helping you relax with counselling, wellbeing and physiotherapy. I’m immobile and yet I’ve been given so much love and care I want to dance out of my chair!”
To find out more about St Wilfrid’s, visit www.stwhospice.org