The care and support of St Richard’s hospice has helped transform the life of a Worcestershire man who is living with heart failure.
Ray Mace, 68 from Shrawley, says he had difficulty walking, had lost two stone in weight and lacked any confidence to leave his home.
But 12 weeks after he started weekly visits to St Richard’s Day Hospice, the former Associate Dean in the School of Education of Wolverhampton University is enjoying life again.
“My biggest problem was I didn’t want to mix or see anyone. I never went anywhere, I sat in a chair and was conscious I couldn’t walk, had lost lots of weight and was feeling old and past it.”
Since coming to the hospice in Wildwood Drive, Worcester, Ray has benefitted and learned skills to use at home from complementary therapies such as relaxation and yoga classes, as well as meeting other people also living with a life-limiting illness.
“It’s been an amazing turn around. I’ve been encouraged and supported to do things I wouldn’t have done if I was at home. I now have the confidence and strength of being able to walk without a stick and I’ve got my appetite back.
He also enjoys meeting other people who want to ‘feel normal and talk about normal things’ and not just focus on their illness.
He added, “I don’t consider death itself is problematic: it’s how you get there that is important. I don’t know how long I’ve got but know I have access to St Richard’s which can support me if there are bad times yet to come. The hospice offers a tremendous service and I’m grateful to experience it in a very positive way.”
Ray says his wife of 45 years, Judith, has also benefitted. “She can have a day relaxing, knowing I’m being taken care of in the best way possible.”
Ray also praised all the volunteers who help St Richard’s, including the drivers who bring him to and from the hospice, describing them as a ‘tremendous’ team.
St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.
In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.