Why we should all know about hospice care

I have been feeling the rising importance of expressing what a hospice really is, as so many people do not know or want to know just yet. I would like to share my positive experience of St Raphael’s Hospice with others because it’s honestly remarkable. I thought I was coming to the Hospice to die but they have helped me to live. I recognise that people turn away from “hospice-talk” as they fear it and think of it as a gloomy and sad place. I want people to know that if you do in fact require hospice care in your life, your journey will become as wonderful as it possibly can. It is all about what goes on before the end, what happens in your final days that truly makes the difference. 

My time with St Raphael's

Inpatient Unit

I have been on the Inpatient Unit (IPU) of St Raphael’s for 6 weeks now, having been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I am a person who tells things as they are, so everything that I am sharing today is important to me. I have not had a single bad day at the Hospice in over a month, which is a privilege particularly when you are ill. There are naturally ups and downs when you are sick but the downs are so well-managed in the hands of the very best.

My experience at St Raphael’s has helped me to begin my journey of healing. It has been a period of rest for me. Clearing my mind about what the future may or may not bring. I didn’t realise at the start how important this time would be for me and my family. I don’t know how long I have left, none of us really do, yet this has been a humbling and levelling process in coming to terms with death with a lot of gratitude. 

This hospice is so much more than anything you can label.

Morgan reflecting in our garden

Having been on the Inpatient Unit for quite some time, I have had the opportunity to meet many staff and have access to many of the additional services they offer. Cathy, the Staff Nurse, has become like a mum to me. Yvie, from the Orangery Café, regularly checks on me and is always there to listen. As do all the staff.

Wellbeing Centre

Sheila and the Wellbeing Centre team are truly fantastic and I enjoy my time with them in their various sessions. I am a part of their Men’s Den on Thursdays and we always have a laugh. I have endured spells of short-term memory loss at the hands of my illness, so Sheila goes out of her way to find me before these sessions, in case I have forgotten and would like to join.

I have seen that everyone at St Raphael’s works there because they really want to – you can see it in the way they treat each individual patient with such care. It is natural for them to go above and beyond for everyone. In fact, it’s extraordinary. When you are the one who is ill, these are the things that bring a lot of love and respect into your days, knowing that you are not a burden.

I wish for everyone living with illness to have the same dignified experience and exceptional standard of care.

The staff are incredibly skilled in their profession, they have seen and done it all and everything is handled with a lot of attention. I can only imagine how busy they are yet I am made to feel special and important. They make time to chat and laugh with me every day. You can talk to them about anything and they stop to really listen. Everyone from the nurses, to the volunteers, to the grass cutters on the grounds, are all wonderful to me and my family. They have made us feel loved and that we matter, not just once or twice but every single day. We have a beautiful autistic 13-year-old daughter, our Charlotte, and this level of care has been vital to our family life. You would never think it but St Raphael’s has become a home from home. 

As mentioned before, I’m the type of person to say it like it is, and I cannot think of one bad thing to say!

Community Team

I am now well enough to be discharged to head home, still under the care of St Raphael’s. Their care has given me more precious time. When my last days approach, I hope to be back on Hospice grounds, where I know that I will be comfortable, safe and in the very best hands to ease me through.

You can live your whole life thinking that a Hospice isn’t a place that you would want to end up in. It was not until I stayed in a Hospice, receiving end-of-life care, that I realised that this is the exact place you would hope to be in your final days.

Morgan writing his daily quote

A bit about Morgan

Morgan, a skilled wordsmith and linguistics graduate, has a penchant for creating witty sayings. He has written over 350 unique quotes to date, which his family hope to put together into a book to be able to page through for years to come. He continues to write while at the Hospice, making use of the whiteboard in his room to showcase a new quote each day. 

During our visit, we had the privilege of witnessing Morgan’s new quote of the day as it was being written on the whiteboard. Morgan, with his sharp mind and calm nature, happily rose from the comfort of his armchair to reach for his marker across the room. 

He began to write, “When fate shuts a door, come in through the window…” He cheekily grinned as he continued “…just make sure it’s your own!”

When asked which proverb Morgan felt most connected to at that very moment, he shared a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, one that he first recited to his wife 17 years ago –

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."

We take great pride in making the end of life journey as wonderful as it possibly can as Morgan puts it. With the help of your donations, we make that possible. Any contribution, no matter how small goes a long way. 

Update 01 12 2022

Rest In Peace, Morgan. Thank you for helping us to spread the word about the importance of hospice care. You have left an incredible legacy behind you. Our deepest sympathies to your family from all at St Raphael's Hospice.


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