From time to time, patients and their families share their experiences of Barnsley Hospice with us to help others understand the care and support we provide. These personal insights are much appreciated as they help to reassure others coming to the hospice for the first time. Many new patients are nervous and have misconceptions about what hospice care really is.
Amy was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 aged 24 and was certainly not keen on coming to the hospice when she was referred here for counselling following her first round of treatment.
Mum, Roma says: “Her understanding of a hospice was a place you went to die and nothing could convince her of anything different.”
Amy went on to live a full and active life over the next nine years, whilst also undergoing further courses of treatment. In 2015, however, she was told her cancer was no longer responding to treatment and she was now being given palliative care.
Struggling to get her pain under control, she was again referred to the hospice for specialist pain medication management. Amy agreed to be admitted – and this is when her relationship with the hospice changed.
Roma says: “Amy was very surprised at how different the hospice was from what she had imagined. Amy thought it would be like a hospital… but the surroundings were lovely and it felt almost like a hotel… Once her pain was under control she was free to leave the hospice during the day returning at an agreed time to have her progress checked. After a week’s treatment, Amy left the hospice with a much-reduced level of pain medication and totally different perception of the hospice.”
Over the next five years, Amy was supported by the hospice on many occasions. “She became very comfortable and happy with being there,” says Roma.
Amy brought her own duvet and home comforts when she was admitted as an inpatient and appreciated the way our catering staff met her dietary requirements.
Alongside her hospice visits for specialist care and support, Amy worked through an impressive bucket list.
It was in December 2019 that Amy was rushed to hospital, and her family were warned to expect the worst.
She was transferred to the hospice and with our team’s support and her own determination, Amy managed to spend Christmas day at home and New Year’s Eve with friends in her local pub.
Roma says: “By this time, Amy was used to the hospice and knew that they would do all they could to support what she wanted to do.”
This included popping to a salon from the hospice to get her hair dyed turquoise and attending a masquerade ball organised for her 39th birthday.
It was a privilege to play a role in supporting Amy in her final years and months. Our thanks go to Roma and Amy’s family for sharing their experience and Amy’s positive feedback on hospice care. Read Amy’s story.