Date published: Thursday 8th August 2019 | 12:46 GMT
Read the second story in St Clare’s #MyHospiceAndMe campaign…
“Being able to come to St Clare Hospice meant so much to my Mum and our family, as they were able to help in our time of need,” explains Laura (24, from Harlow) whose mother, Letitia, stayed on St Clare’s Inpatient Unit in September 2017.
These were the words of a local daughter after experiencing hospice care first-hand from St Clare Hospice. However, too often do local people who are experiencing a life-limiting illness ‘fall through the gaps,’ and do not receive the support they need – often due to preconceptions and anxiety surrounding hospice care.
“It really is normal to be anxious and frightened after receiving a diagnosis of a terminal illness,” says Director of Patient Care at St Clare, Carolanne Brannan. “However, when those fears of accessing support from your local hospice start getting in the way of receiving vital care and support that can make a huge difference throughout someone’s journey – they begin to become a real problem, which is our responsibility as a hospice to address.”
St Clare Hospice’s new #MyHospiceAndMe campaign launched last month in mid-July, and is dedicated to challenging the common stereotypes that surround hospices and palliative care. One of the best ways that the Hastingwood-based charity has found of overcoming these myths, is by sharing real-life accounts of what hospice care is all about. #MyHospiceAndMe shares true stories from patients, and their relatives, of how compassionate care has made a difference during one of the most difficult stages of their lives.
“St Clare is an amazing place full of wonderful and helpful people,” continues Laura. “The atmosphere is very relaxing and comforting, which really helps during those tough days.
“We benefited a lot from St Clare; from their amazing service and craft afternoons on the Inpatient Unit, to a cup of tea and the little things they do. Being able to look outside into the lovely, secluded garden, watching the bunny rabbits hop and run about, was really peaceful.
“Mum’s stay at St Clare just gave us so many more special moments during the short amount of time we had left to enjoy together,” Laura reflects.
“A name we had for Mum, or in particular an association to her, was ‘bunny rabbit’. I remember one particularly bad day when Mum was not very well during her stay on St Clare’s Inpatient Unit, I took myself to the Hospice Sanctuary for some peace and calm. I just wanted to be alone, as I was not coping very well.
“I was sitting quietly in the Sanctuary, when I noticed that next to me sat a lovely bunny pillow with big floppy ears. I just sat next to it, looking at it as I dried away my tears. I almost felt like it was a little sign, and the thought of it comforted me, no matter where I was in the Hospice. Because it reminded me of Mum.
“The Chaplain at St Clare helped me search for the cushion online, so I could buy one to take home with me,” Laura recalls.
“I just knew I needed to have one with me, especially after Mum passed, so I bought a few. I currently have one on my bed that I keep by my side at night, and the others I have safely tucked away in storage. I want to use them in my first house, so I can always have a little piece of my Mum and St Clare with me at home.
Laura adds, “I will always appreciate the little things that St Clare does for people, and what they did for my mum and our family. Sometimes, I think it’s the little things that matter most.”
#MyHospiceAndMe is about sharing stories about those ‘little things’ that matter when faced with one of the most difficult times in life – and what a difference compassionate, patient-centred care, that goes above and beyond, can truly make.
Share your story
St Clare Hospice is encouraging local people to speak up about their experiences of hospice care, to help challenge perceptions of hospices and encourage more people to access support that could make a real difference. Get in touch with St Clare at firstname.lastname@example.org