Ian has advanced prostate cancer and attends our Wellbeing courses such as Wellbeing Matters and social afternoons. Ian recently shared an account of his time at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and how the team have improved his life.

'One of my fellow patients once put it like this: “The hospital saved my life, but the hospice taught me how to live”.

‘It seems to me that the general public believes the hospice to be a place where terminally ill people come to die. Well, yes they do! However the hospice is much more than this. It is a welcoming place where we who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness get help and advice that enables us to spend our remaining weeks, months and years in a relaxed and warm atmosphere.

Ian with the men's cooking course

‘We’re mixing with other patients in a similar situation through a patient support group, as well as with skilled staff and volunteers who know the best ways to make our lives easier and more comfortable from both a medical and palliative aspect. We’re learning from them too!

‘Our first experience on referral to the hospice is a meeting with a nurse followed by an in-depth consultation with one of the hospice’s resident doctors where a specific care package may be suggested. Following this, it is recommended that we participate in a “wellbeing matters” course led by the wellbeing care team.

‘Over a period of 10 weeks we are given advice by specialists in their own fields on topics such as Introduction to the Hospice and Wellbeing Centre, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Diet and Nutrition, a Patient’s Experience, Advance Care Planning.

‘It’s a huge amount of help and information - everything from financial care planning to end-of-life care, Community Support by a hospice social worker, Spirituality and the Human Experience, and Complimentary Therapies.

‘Where it’s suitable to help overcome difficulties in their day-to-day living, my fellow patients can attend relaxation classes, a fatigue and breathlessness clinic, maintenance exercise sessions, T’ai Chi and an independent living group.

‘There’s also a 24/7 help line to contact practice nurses for assistance and home visits should they be deemed necessary. It’s reassuring to know that down the end of the line there’s someone who will listen and help.

‘All this may sound depressing but it is far from that. Making our end-of-life plans complete releases us to live our lives to the full now we know we’re supported by the excellent hospice staff.

‘It doesn’t end there! To help us benefit from hospice activities, we may be referred to ancillary group sessions such as art classes, sewing groups, the gardening club and the male cooking group which, from experience, produces delicious snacks that are usually consumed at the end of the session. This group is a particular favourite of mine as it’s something very different – full of laughter and special moments!

In fact the hospice has become like a second home. That constant care for patients, carers and their families is key to us here - no-one is forgotten. The hospice isn’t just for the dying but also for the living – those who want to live full and busy lives in excellent company.’