Shelley’s story

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“St Clare has been a big part of my life for many years, and I feel really lucky to be working here doing a job that I absolutely love. Over the past ten years, I have loved meeting so many wonderful, lovely and fascinating people, hearing their stories and supporting them in any way that I can.”

“St Clare has been a big part of my life for many years, and I feel really lucky to be working here doing a job that I absolutely love. Over the past ten years, I have loved meeting so many wonderful, lovely and fascinating people, hearing their stories and supporting them in any way that I can.”

“My role at St Clare as Day Therapy Assistant is to help in the running of our Day Therapy sessions. I also lead a creative drop-in group, and run Café Clare on a Friday morning.”

“In Day Therapy, we do lots of reminiscence activities that aim to empower people to take back a bit of control in their lives. It is easy to feel that your illness is taking over, so we think about what makes us happy and relaxed, focusing on living our lives in the way we want to.”

“Although things have changed so much over the years, I still remember and treasure the support that St Clare gave to our family back in the year 1998. 20 years ago, my Mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Mum, Dad and I would come to St Clare for the family support meetings in the lounge, back when St Clare was just a farmhouse. We were actually here when they cut the ribbon to open the Inpatient Unit!”

“When Mum died, we continued to come to the family support group. St Clare’s ethos that all members of the family are supported for the whole journey has been integral since its humble beginnings.”

“I returned to St Clare as a volunteer for about two years after Mum died, too, as my way of giving something back to the Hospice that had supported us all so well. At the time, I was working in a nursing home, but eventually I moved on to become a self-employed gardener. As if by fate, I found myself perusing my Dad’s local paper where I found a job advert for a Therapy Assistant at St Clare. It’s really weird – I never used to look in the paper at my Dad’s house. When I saw the advert, I jumped at the chance, and the day after the interview I received a call to say that I had got the job!”

“Ten years on, it is still an honour to be helping to make people’s lives more enjoyable, and knowing that their journey is supported all the way through.”

“Our teams work so hard to deliver joined-up care to the people we work with. Simple things like getting a GP appointment can be really difficult, but our team don’t stop until they make it work! We help people to navigate the healthcare system as well as offering therapy sessions.”

“People come in to Day Therapy for the first time with their shoulders hunched up, not wanting to come to a hospice because they think it’s just a place to go to die. They can be petrified – so anxious. By the end of the day their shoulders have dropped, they say it wasn’t what they expected at all, and they can’t wait to come back next week!”

“Peer support is a massive part of why Day Therapy is such a vital service in the community. People encourage each other, and inspire each other to be able to cope and lead the life that they want to. By being with your peers, people find themselves thinking, ‘If they can do it, then so can I’. And that is very powerful.”

“There are also lots of people who find it hard to accept help. They may feel like a ‘fraud’ for being at St Clare, because they think others need the help more. Yet, when they come to Day Therapy, they see others who are just like them, and eventually feel that it is OK to accept help.”

“From my own experiences, I know what a difference having that support of your local hospice can make – for a patient and a family member. I gave a lot of care to my Mum, but I always had my own home and family to go back to at the end of the day – kind of like another life to lead. My Dad, however, was in his 70s when he was caring for my Mum, and there was no help available other than St Clare. As the main carer, you don’t always get a break, but St Clare really helped us to care for Mum.”

“There’s no way that you can put into words the difference hospice care can make to someone. From the point that someone walks through the door to the moment they realise how powerful the support is – we see it happen to them.”

“One of my colleagues described St Clare as ‘a happy place where sad things sometimes happen’. That really sums up what St Clare is.”

– Shelley

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