Taking the First Step

Being referred to the Hospice can be a very unsettling time for patients and their loved ones.

Most people have pre-conceived ideas when they think of the word ‘hospice’ and assume it’s the place where people go to die, or that once you go into a hospice, you won’t be coming out.          

It was with this is mind that we asked the St Wilfrid’s Clinical Nurse Specialist team (CNS) what advice they’d give to people coming to the Hospice, how they can prepare and what they can expect.

We are the first point of call for the majority of our patients and we go out to the patient’s home, nursing home or care home and meet with them and their loved ones in safe and familiar surroundings. The most important thing to remember is that every person is an individual with unique thoughts and feelings about what goes on at a hospice.

"One of our main jobs at this stage is to ascertain what thoughts and fears the patient and their family might have about the Hospice. We find that at this stage we need to dispel a lot of myths and let them know about the wide range of services that can be of real benefit to them. 

We can also help to make them feel more at ease by arranging visits to the hospice, either as a one-to-one tour, or we have a ‘Welcome Wednesday’ on the last Wednesday of each month where anyone can come in and have a look around the Hospice and get a feel for the place.  The patients are welcome to try one of the many activities that we run at the Day Centre, from art to a relaxing complementary therapy, to an exercise class or help with breathing and symptom control; or simply come into our Orchard Café for a cup of tea and a chat.

Whether you are admitted onto the ward or come in as a Day Centre patient, the fact is that some people will die here, but for many others it is a place where we can help you manage your illness and allow you to live better."

So really that is it in a nutshell – in our experience, the main concern patients have is the fear of the unknown. Spending time with our patients and their loved ones to dispel myths, educate and reassure, ensures they can benefit from the services we provide and feel comfortable as soon as they step through the door.