When 48-year-old Martin Neath from Droitwich was referred to St Richard’s Hospice after learning he had terminal lung cancer, he and his wife had no idea of the wide range of care and support they would receive.
The couple have been ‘amazed’ to benefit from diverse support including specialist medical care in the Worcester hospice’s In-patient Unit and at their home; from friendly, professional advice at the end of a phone to complementary therapy and counselling.
Martin, who previously worked as a team leader/department manager said, “We can’t speak too highly of St Richard’s. We are very appreciative of the care we have been given in so many ways by so many people. We want others to understand what the hospice really can do for people and encourage them to support it however they can.”
For Martin and his wife, Michelle, 45, the way that staff and volunteers always have time to talk to them has proved a welcome eye-opener.
Michelle explained, “You never get an indication of how busy the staff are. If you want to talk they will stop and talk. They give you time and that means much more than popping in to just give you pills.
“Everyone will have time to listen from the housekeeping team to the physio to the unit manager. They are very observant too. However much I say I’m ok they can tell when I’m not. For example, the nurse could see I was struggling and arranged for me to have some complementary therapy even though I thought there must have been lots more people here in more need than me.”
Martin added, “The nurses and medical team learn more by talking to you. They chat and the information you give them allows them to make informed decisions. The staff can’t do enough for us; they go above and beyond the call of duty. They think of everything we need before we have.”
On one occasion Michelle was ill at home and unable to care for Martin. Martin’s St Richard’s Nurse Specialist, who supported him with regular visits at home, arranged for three days of care from the Hospice at Home team. The Nurse Specialist also arranged for Martin to have a piece of equipment to make his voice louder when he spoke.
The pair has also been able to keep in touch with St Richard’s out of hours and during weekends through telephone support. Michelle and the couple’s two children, aged 17 and 21, have also had advice and counselling from the Family Support Team.
Martin has had three stays in the hospice In-patient Unit before returning to be supported at home.
“At first I thought a hospice was the last place to go to rest your bones but I have been proved wrong. You come into the hospice and they look after you, sorting out your pain and making it easier to carry on. Whether at home or in the hospice; we always have the St Richard’s back up. It’s amazing what they can do.”
St Richard’s Hospice Care Director, June Patel, said: “Until people have a reason to connect with St Richard’s, they often don’t realize the vast number of ways we can help patients and their families. Our care is focused on the patient as an individual and we do all we can so they can achieve the best quality of life for them and their families.”