The Saint Francis Hospice Blog
Welcome to the Saint Francis Hospice blog.
We'll be bringing you thoughts, views and insight from our staff, volunteers, supporters and patients. If you have an idea for a blog, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!
In March, the world changed so much within such a short space of time. I was on paternity leave when the lockdown hit, and after only a few days back at work, I was furloughed.
I was given the opportunity of working in our reception area at the time of COVID 19.
After I qualified in medicine, I decided to train to become a consultant who specialises in palliative and end of life care.
Every member of staff at Saint Francis Hospice has had to adjust amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including myself and my team.
Before COVID19 my job mainly involved working with our fundraising team to provide our supporters with anything they need to help their fundraising.
As a British Army veteran and retired Police officer, I should really have known better than to ‘volunteer’ but it’s not in my nature to shy away from any situation and as I uttered the words “If there is anything you think I can do just ask,” my list of ‘any things’ grew more and varied as the pandemic took hold.
During this pandemic, bereavement support has become more than ever a vital service.
When the lockdown first came into place and we realised that we were no longer able to treat our lovely patients hands-on, I was disappointed.
Like all of the services at Saint Francis Hospice, Education changed to ensure everyone was safe whilst essential learning continued.
The girls that have been working throughout these extraordinary times have been amazing.
As with all areas of care during this challenging time, we have had to look at alternative ways to support patients within Saint Francis Hospice and also those under our care in the community.
Many of our patients express a clear wish that when they are less well, they want to remain in their own home; they want to be comfortable, they want their dignity maintained and they want their loved ones near.
As part of Dying Matters Week (11-17 May), Nasreen Al-Azami, whose husband Nabeel was under our care and whose family were supported by our bereavement service, reflects on the importance of talking about death and dying and the difference it made to her family.
Reaching out from kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and even the garden, are our wonderful OrangeLine volunteers.
My work at Saint Francis Hospice is all about relationship - A therapeutic relationship between myself and one of our patients, a family member, both together or at times the whole family.
Generally, our patients get a lot of comfort and relief from the therapeutic touch that we offer within our complementary therapy appointments.
The team is in extreme demand due to the current crisis and therefore adapting different ways of working to ensure our team can continue supporting patients and families in the community.
Julie White is a Healthcare Assistant with our Hospice at Home team and here she shares the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on the way she cares and supports patients and families.
Last summer, Rosie Cassidy had time to fill. She kindly decided to volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice before going back to university to continue her degree in psychology.
Teresa Mottram was food shopping when her 3-year-old daughter pointed to the fridge and exclaimed: "Daddy likes those yoghurts." Teresa replied to Lily-May: "But darling, Daddy died, so he doesn't need them anymore."
June Spencer was just three years old when measles caused blindness in her right eye. For the next 68 years, June relied on her left eye to help her lead a happy and healthy life.
Bernie Murphy has been a volunteer driver at Saint Francis Hospice for 16 years. He chauffeurs outpatients to and from our social hub for local people at any stage of a life-limiting illness.
When Pam Court first joined Saint Francis Hospice as CEO, her friends and family would ask: "Isn't it a terribly morbid and sad place to work?" Pam would explain that it is quite the opposite, and she hasn't looked back since.
When John Lightfoot retired from the hustle and bustle of London's Square Mile, he needed to keep busy and away from the humdrum of daytime television.
Gary is one of 959 volunteers who give up 265,000 hours each year — saving Saint Francis Hospice £1.5m over 12 months.
When David Jobbins was diagnosed with a harmless urinary tract infection, routine tests revealed something more severe: prostate cancer.
It was six o'clock in the morning when Brian Holmes was harshly awoken while sleeping in a hospital bed. Still feeling the effects of an operation to remove his gallbladder, along came a breakfast trolley of clinking plates and clanking cutlery — with squeaky wheels to boot.
Wallace White was 73 years old when he was diagnosed with heart failure.
When Anne Lancaster meets people who haven't been to Saint Francis Hospice, they are often puzzled about how she can go back to the place where her mum passed away — let alone volunteer there.