To say that St Francis Hospice is a special place would be an understatement; here is the story of my family’s experience …
After 18 years, Mam had fought the good fight but was starting to lose the battle. The little things became big things and Dad’s ability to manage was becoming tougher than we had envisioned. Mam had been gradually losing her independence, as she became unable to drive the car, walk up the stairs, some daily activities that we all take for granted. From a psychological perspective the decision to move from the family home to the Hospice was the toughest yet for Mam to accept. But as a family, we were all agreed, and Mam knew it was the right, though difficult, decision to make.
Experiencing the Hospice
Although not always a final journey when going into a Hospice, the people there have a way of dealing with the decision and helping the family to accept the possibilities that may come. Death is handled with a gentle touch and a kindness. The individual and the family are treated with such kindness that one doesn’t feel they are in a Hospice at all. This is such a reassuring aura that keeps the normality of life present for both the patient and family.
I feel that when Mam eventually went into St Francis Hospice she may have felt she should have gone in sooner, as the care she received allowed us all to relax somewhat and gave her the ability to continue her normal life. Mam came alive again in the Hospice, organising daily excursions, parties and her hectic social calendar, which not only continued but blossomed.
Precious time together
The access we, her family, as well as her close friends, had was something to be cherished. From taking her out of the Hospice for a stroll on the beach, to having a garden lunch in the sun at the Hospice, to getting her hair done by volunteers, the normality provided by the Hospice was there for all to see. Staff and volunteers catered for all sorts of requests with smiles and encouragement. St Francis Hospice is a magical place where life is celebrated, and death not ignored but embraced and done so with the dignity and gentleness that anyone would like to see it dealt with. Even in Mam’s final moments the staff made things a natural part of the process and this is a gift our family will always cherish. The dignity and respect we were shown was truly inspirational. We want to express the gratitude and respect that our family has for St Francis Hospice for making Mam’s final journey such a seamless one.