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New courses offer daily benefits

25th January 2017

Ken and Gwen Stark

A couple from Pershore are benefiting from a new approach to day hospice care which aims to give patients more confidence in managing their illness.

Gwen Stark was keen to try the new pilot courses offered as part of the ‘living well’ approach, having previously enjoyed sessions at St Richard’s Day Hospice. As a result of her illness, Mrs Stark has been struggling with tension and fatigue so when she was offered a six week course to learn relaxation techniques to ease her anxiety and help her sleep, she jumped at the chance.

Gwen told us;

“I found the course really useful and have been able to put the practical techniques into action. For example, the other week I had a dentist appointment, something that would normally have me feeling extremely tense and anxious. But I remembered the relaxation tips I had learnt at St Richard’s and the experience was so much easier!”

Having completed her first living well course, Gwen is now looking forward to her second: to manage her fatigue. On a day to day basis, her illness leaves her so fatigued that she can spend days feeling unable to complete normal daily tasks. Over four sessions the course will offer practical solutions such as planning ahead for the day, delegating where possible and focussing on what’s important.

Her husband Ken is also being supported by St Richard’s and has joined the carers group. He said;

 “Being a carer can be a lonely job. I have thoroughly enjoyed coming along to the group. There are about a dozen of us, all in the same situation. We’re all amateurs at this caring job and so we find it a comfort to be able to discuss our challenges. It’s great to know that you’re not alone.”

When their GP first suggested referring Gwen to St Richard’s, the couple were initially uncertain as they didn’t know what to expect. But once she had started visiting Day Hospice they soon realised that they had made the best decision.

Ken explained how it feels to arrive at the hospice; “When you come through the barrier into the car park it’s like entering a piece of heaven. Everyone is so kind and helpful.”

Gwen agreed; “Coming to Day Hospice has been so helpful to both of us. It’s so calming here. If you are having a bad day and are feeling really tired, you don’t feel that you need to put on a face. There’s always someone around to help you out. If I had to sum up St Richard’s in one word, it would be ‘comforting’.”