Carol, from Sidcup, was 73 when she came to the hospice. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, and at the time her prognosis was just a few months. Thanks to medical interventions at the time, Carol was able to beat the prognosis and continued to live well and independently for the next four years.
Towards the end of 2022, she started to notice changes – in particular, instead of following her regular, healthy diet, Carol’s appetite changed and she started craving foods like pizza. At the same time her health started to decline until she could no longer manage to live independently at home, even with the support of her neighbours. By early 2023, Carol was being supported by our Hospice at Home service, and carers were visiting her three times a day. She came into our in-patient unit at the hospice at the end of February 2023.
Carol wanted to share her experience of the hospice.
A little bit of heaven
“It’s been a privilege to be here and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. It’s not a place of doom and gloom. It’s a place of peace, serenity and kindness and there’s always a nice happy cheerful atmosphere. The staff here have excellent nursing skills - it’s a little bit of heaven and everyone’s an angel. Nothing is too much bother for them.”
Carol admitted that she hadn’t taken much notice of the hospice in the past. “When you’re well you don’t think of what might happen in the future. It’s a pity the hospice isn’t known more. EVERYONE should visit a hospice.
“It’s an experience that has left me humbled. Knowing I was going to die, I wanted it to happen quickly. It’s a funny thing to say, but I wouldn’t have missed this! I couldn’t be anywhere – not even a five star hotel – that would’ve been better than where I am. I have no regrets about being here.
The nurses are angels
“The care I’ve received has been exemplary. The overall kindness, and willingness of the nurses is wonderful. They never show any dissent or frustration or irritation – I found it amazing. They’re so reassuring; they never make me feel like I’m a nuisance and they work so hard – always a smile on their face. Whatever I ask for, they’ll do. Nothing is too much trouble and the staff are always happy to accommodate.
"Food wise, all your needs are catered for. IF they can’t accommodate what’s on the menu, they always offer an alternative. Pretty amazing.
"I would definitely say to anyone needing hospice care: 'Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the hospice or if you’re offered help, please take it because it is nothing to be fearful or worried about. They’re just trying to do their very best for you to make you comfortable and give you relief from pain, or mentally. It is wonderful.'”