Sam’s Story – We do it because we love people
This Christmas, we are sharing Sam’s story about working at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and caring for Malcolm, a patient whose story we shared earlier this Winter.
As part of our Christmas Appeal, we hope this story will show the impact a donation can have in making a difference to local lives. We would greatly appreciate any donation, big or small, so we can continue to help families this Christmas.
“Hello, my name is Sam and I am a Senior Healthcare Assistant on the Ward at St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
You may have recently read about Jacqui’s memories of her husband Malcolm, who I was lucky enough to get to know during his stay at the Hospice. I thought I would share about the time I cared for Malcolm.
It’s important that the clinical team work together with the patient to understand what really matters to them. We may think that making sure that their pain is controlled is important, however for the patients, it may also be something simple such as a bubble bath, a walk around the garden, or making memories with loved ones. This is how I like to work, by getting to know the patient.
Malcolm was very chatty and friendly, and I remember his lovely smile and twinkly eyes. He was very charming. He remembered everyone’s names and took the time to speak to people; he was always interested in us all on the Ward. He was so grateful for the care that he was receiving.
Malcolm was always talking about “my Jacqui and my girls”. He knew he was poorly but he never really spoke about his illness affecting him. He only ever spoke about his illness affecting his family. His family was his life.
Through good communication we aim to provide a space where patients trust us enough to share their passions and wishes. Not as a friend, but somebody who you trust to share the things that either bother you, or that you want to celebrate.
We care about their families and try to make their day a little bit easier. We know they may be having a difficult time, but actually, we will always try to use our skills and experience to help and support.
When Malcolm first arrived, he couldn’t move very well without help, and our focus was to build up his confidence to assist him in becoming more active. Because of his mobility issues, Malcolm sadly had to change events he had wanted to attend.
He was staying with us at the time one of his daughters was about to graduate as a Nurse, and asked if he could have a graduation ceremony in the garden at the Hospice, as he likely wouldn’t be alive at the time of her formal graduation. Of course, we were delighted to make this happen. It was such a special moment.
As Malcolm had shared his love of aeroplanes and his history in the RAF, we organised a trip up to Goodwood to watch the Spitfires go off, and have a tour around the Aerodrome. This was a very special day for the whole family, and it turns out that it was their last family trip together, and their last chance to create those special memories. I am so proud and honoured that we are able to help make these moments happen.
Everyone has their own perception of a hospice. People come to us scared because they think a hospice is a place where you go to die, but actually, that’s not the case all the time. Of course, some patients do die here, but that’s not always the reality.
From the moment a patient arrives, they decide the pace of their care and what they need. Nine times out of ten, the patients who come in scared say “this is not what I thought it was going to be like, it’s lovely here!”. We are always trying to get the stigma away from the word ‘hospice’.
The Hospice is about living well; it’s about managing symptoms and maximising quality of life. I think that what we can do for patients and their loved ones is show them that death can be dignified.
Everybody’s wishes are different, some want to be in the Hospice, others want to be at home. In fact, 40% of patients go home because that’s where they choose to be when they die.”