Yvonne’s story

Yvonne and Poppy

I was first referred to St Clare through my GP after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in March 2016. My first contact with St Clare was through the community team. One of the Clinical Nurse Specialists, Gill, came to visit me at home on a regular basis to try to help control my pain.”

“Having Gill visit me at home made me feel so safe and looked after. It helped me to not feel so lost, because being ill can be a very lonely road.”

“Although I’ve got millions of friends, it’s still only me that is ill.”

“Gill was amazing. She would always sit down with me and explain everything – she would never put anything on me that I didn’t want to do. Gill helped me with absolutely everything that I needed. She arranged for me to get my blue badge for parking because I couldn’t walk, she literally did everything! I could always trust that if Gill said she was going to do something for me, she would.”

“Gill explained all of the different options available for me including having care on St Clare’s inpatient unit, but I was very stubborn so it took her ages to convince me to actually come in to stay at St Clare. But eventually it got to the point where I was struggling to walk to the kitchen or up the stairs by myself and we couldn’t get my pain under control at home – so I decided to come in to St Clare’s.”

“I stayed in the inpatient unit for 10 days in December 2016 for recovery, following an operation at UCL Hospital. The doctors at St Clare helped to make me feel so much better. They sorted out all of my medication for me – as I had been really struggling to find the right balance that didn’t make me feel sick.”

“The difference in me after just 10 days of being at St Clare was incredible! The care I received was amazing.”

“I cried when I first came over the threshold of St Clare. I thought it was the beginning of the end – but I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as I arrived a calmness came over me that I can’t explain. From the moment I got here everyone was so kind to me, so helpful and practical. The staff pay so much attention to detail and constantly make sure that you aren’t in any pain and always trying to help.”

Yvonne & Poppy“Nothing was ever too much trouble for the staff. One day, one of my friends sent me a photo of my dog Poppy and I showed one of the nurses, explaining how much I missed her. The next thing I knew Poppy was here with me and had her own sofa bed made up beside me! Having Poppy stay at the hospice with me made a stressful situation a little easier, as I had her there to comfort me.”

“It is only me and Poppy at home so she is my whole world, and gives me a reason to get up each morning. Poppy was so spoilt by everyone at St Clare – the nurses would feed her biscuits throughout the day and the chef even fed her turkey for dinner!”

“The care that you receive at St Clare is so personal, it’s the little things that make such a difference.”

“Like the volunteers coming round to make sure that your flowers are looked after, because I couldn’t get out of bed to do it myself. Also the chef would always make you anything you fancied, you didn’t have a restricted menu to stick to. When I first came in I was so weak because I hadn’t been eating – so I’d lost so much weight. As soon as I got to St Clare I put it all back on again, the food is amazing – especially the fish pie! It was just like being at home but with waiters!”

“Before I was referred to St Clare I had been in hospital for 6 weeks and I hadn’t let anyone help me bath or clean my hair, but as soon as I got to St Clare the nurses made me feel so comfortable that I accepted their offer to help me. They helped me into the bath and washed my hair for me and made me feel so at ease.”

“I moved most of my life into my room for the ten days that I was at St Clare and when I was discharged it took about 4 men to remove it all for me!”

“I love everything about St Clare, the facilities, the calming surroundings, the kindness and just the consideration of people – it’s just amazing!”

“It’s not morbid at St Clare – like people may think it is. Unfortunately you can’t change the reason you are in here, but the care and the normality helps you feel so much better about everything.”

“The term ‘Hospice’ to everybody means ‘end of life’ – because you think that is just the natural chain, but it isn’t. I don’t think the general public know that 1 in 3 people actually go home, and I am one of those.”

“I thought the same thing before I came to St Clare and that is why I wouldn’t listen to Gill about coming in for pain management, but now I wish I had done it sooner.”

“It’s just about getting to understand that St Clare is a place that helps make you better again – as much as they possibly can. The doctors are so calm and give you so much time. They actually listen to everyone and adapt everything for the individual.”

“I’m not worried about dying, I’m just worried about the care I receive before I die, but St Clare takes that fear away.”

“The memories of losing someone you love stay with you forever and make a huge impact on those people that are left behind. St Clare helps your loved ones to have fond memories, and helps them to understand everything as well – to make sure everyone is happy, not just the patient.”

“Now that I have been treated by St Clare I don’t want to go anywhere else. Knowing that St Clare is there for me helps to make me feel so much more settled and safe, I feel quite content knowing that I will end my days at St Clare.”

“This place is just amazing, and I thank God that a place like St Clare exists.”

– Yvonne

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