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How hospice helped our family

17th April 2015

Coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, especially when you have a family. When Alison Holmes died from breast cancer she left behind her 13-year old daughter, 16-year old son and husband who were completely lost without her.

But staff at St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester stepped in to guide the family through their emotions and help them learn to live with the tragedy.

“Most people think they have been outside their comfort zone but when this happens you get wrenched out of it,” said Andy Holmes.

“You are a million miles out of your comfort zone so that you really are completely at sea. Whereas you thought you were a rational human being capable of decisions, this changes everything.”

GetImage-5Mrs Holmes was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, she had an operation and was treated with chemoptherapy but after being given the ‘green light’ the disease returned.

She attended the hospice as a day patient, but in March 2006 Mrs Homes died at home in Besford, near Pershore. She was 43.

“It was incredibly difficult to talk about it, ” said 45 year old Mr Holmes. “You do want to talk to the kids because they are going through hell. When you talk to the St Richard’s counsellors they say you cannot change it but you can learn to live with it.”

“The first couple of sessions are incredibly tough because you go to places you do not want to be, it is like a safety valve has blown. They just listened and you work it out.”

Ben was a sixth form student at Pershore High School when his mother died. He initially struggled with his studies but after help from St Richard’s he went on to achieve three A levels and on to university.

“If I did not have St Richard’s I would have been stuffed with my exams,”he said.

For his sister, Steph, coping with her mother’s death at the tender age of 13, was immmensely hard. She had family sessions with the counsellors then two years later went back to the hospice for individual support. “I think we would have got there in the end but I do not think we would be finished with everything now in terms of getting the balance back if we hadn’t gone to St Richard’s, ” said Steph.

Mr Homes said, “It is there when you need it but it is not intrusive and they ask for nothing from you. We are eternally grateful for all the support they have given us over the years.”

Article and pictures courtesy of Worcester News

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: It is with great sadness that due to stringent infection control measures, we are required to restrict visiting and cannot offer the comprehensive level of service in the way we usually do. However, we will still do our utmost to make sure that each patient and loved one is given the compassion and dignity they deserve. To help families stay in touch we are encouraging virtual visiting using technology such as video calls and apps. This will be discussed and explained to patients and families on admission and we can help provide access to equipment in the hospice. In addition, the IPU nursing team will liaise with each patient and family to arrange short daily visits from the patient's closest loved one and compassionate visiting, as appropriate. Read the full details here.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.