Linda’s five star treatment

Here’s a nice story, and one which might surprise you, as our patient Linda gives us thanks for “the five star treatment” she received.

Linda was discharged back to her home in Haverigg from our In-Patient Unit recently and wanted to share her story, which she hopes will help anyone who is faced with coming in, and might be anxious about it.

Linda said: “I am going home today and I wanted to let everyone know, that St Mary’s Hospice isn’t just about dying and that it is a wonderful place.

“The level of care I’ve had has been terrific. I’m not being critical of the care I had from the community nurses, my GP or Furness General Hospital, because the nurses, doctors and consultants at all of those places do their very best in difficult circumstances — but at the hospice, it’s a different level. I couldn’t believe how well I was looked after.

“I’d gone into hospital with pain in my arm. Everyone was kind and did their best but they were all singing from a different song sheet and couldn’t agree how best to get on top of my pain, or the best way to treat me. One of their Doctors, Jen, used to work at St Mary’s and she came to see me and suggested I come here if there was a bed. I think she could see the look of horror on my face because she took the time to explain to me that coming here didn’t mean I was going to die. I was still a bit apprehensive and stayed in Furness General overnight while I had an X-ray, but then agreed to come to the Hospice the next day.

“I worked in the NHS for years and always thought that going to a hospice meant you were approaching the end. Dr Jen explained to me that St Mary’s would have the time and resources to get my pain under control and that, when I was well enough, they’d send me home. 50% of the patients at the hospice are discharged back home again — so it is much more than somewhere you go to die.

“My husband and family were shocked — they said they didn’t realise I was that ill — but once I explained things they were happy.

“Having worked in the NHS for years I know the setting and am not easily phased by things but it didn’t take me long to realise that the Hospice staff were there for me, at any time, and — just like Dr Jen had promised — they made me feel like the only patient on the unit and that nothing was too much trouble, like I was the most important person in the world.

“It’s the little things — like the chef Roy who came to see what I fancied to eat and then made a real fuss of making sure I was happy with everything. I can’t wait to go back to the cafe with my husband and enjoy some of his coffee and walnut cake.

“One of the Doctors, Gitta, was great at discussing my longer-term prognosis, which will help me plan for the future, when my health does eventually deteriorate. And for now I’m on top of my pain and can enjoy a better quality of life.

“If I had a million pounds I would give it to the hospice — sadly I don’t but hopefully by sharing my story I can help explain to people just how fabulous the place is, and the staff, and then if anyone else needs to go in, it can help them feel more comfortable.”