Praise for Penrith Day Hospice

The wife of a man who died of a brain tumour earlier this year has explained how the support of Penrith Day Hospice was a life line to herself and her husband.

Sheena Hoggarth and her 59 year old husband, from Newby near Penrith, were not entirely convinced that the support of the hospice was the right thing for them initially, however they both quickly realised that the difference it made to them was invaluable.

Sheena explained: “This place was a god send. I can’t sing their praises enough. The support for both Stephen and me was a lifeline at such a difficult time.  It also opened lots more doors of support for me. If the staff didn’t know something, they would find out. It took some of the stress away. The Occupational Therapist, Kirsty was a lifeline. I was made to feel very welcome as a carer. In the early days I was able to continue at work knowing Stephen was completely safe, looked after professionally and he was happy going to the day hospice. Everybody is lovely, genuine, gentle and kind. This was so important to us.

“Stephen’s ability to do things changed as he was affected by his illness. Staff had to respond to Stephen’s need for time to think; they didn’t rush him at all. He needed time to do things at his own pace. They made a world of difference.”

The Day Hospice, based at Penrith hospital provides support for people living with a life limiting illness, and their loved ones and carers, in an unhurried, safe and trusting environment.  Open once a week the service offers holistic care (emotional, spiritual, social and medical), provided by a range of professionals and volunteers to meet the needs of the patients who use the service.

“It was the Occupational Therapist, Libby, who introduced me to idea of Stephen attending the Day Hospice. I didn’t think Stephen was ready for this but she sold it to me and Stephen which surprised me. Stephen attended and loved it from the start. I never had to remind him that it was day hospice (on a Thursday), he would get up and be ready to go. As Stephen’s health deteriorated and he wasn’t able to speak much, his eyes would light up with the idea of attending day hospice.

“Stephen was so accepting of his illness. As my husband, he looked after me for almost 37 years; he was a very kind hearted, gentle, caring person. I just wanted the best for him and didn’t want to live with any regrets. Thank you to Sheena (Reid) and her team as they were a big part of helping to manage Stephen’s illness”.

Sheena Reid, Manager of Penrith Day Hospice said “Sheena (Hogarth) was outstanding in the way she cared for Stephen.  She is a brave woman who became Stephen’s voice. She was dynamic and understandably determined in seeking medical information and the best support for her husband”.

Penrith Day Hospice was established in 2001. Its premises, its services and its team are based at Penrith Community NHS hospital.

The Day Hospice is open for one day a week (Thursdays). Patients and their carers attend for part or all of the day hospice day (between 10.00am and 3.00pm).  It provides support for people living with a life limiting illness, and their loved ones and carers, in an unhurried, safe and trusting environment. The service offers holistic care (emotional, spiritual, social and medical), provided by a multidisciplinary team. The team comprises of a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, doctor, nurses, chaplain, complementary therapists and a dedicated group of local volunteers. The Hospice is further supported by other services such Macmillan CNS, Speech and language therapy, Lymphoedema therapy, Social Services and the Third Sector.

As part of its holistic approach, Penrith Day Hospice introduced various forms of therapy, including massage, yoga, shortness of breath management, and memories and reminiscence sessions. There has been a great focus on art, including painting, music and poetry. A project has just recently been completed by artist, Julia Stanton, who painted beautiful portraits of many of our patients. Local artist Margaret Jones, is also currently enabling patients to create a banner of yarns and textiles, which will be hung in the day hospice.  Poppy is the hospice dog, she is a regular attender and welcomed by the group. Additionally, Eden Arts have recently made several short films about the patient’s and volunteer’s experiences of Day Hospice.

Dame Cicely Saunders, who is known for her role in pioneering the hospice movement, emphasised the importance of palliative care in modern medicine. She said “You matter because you are you, and you matter until the end of your life. We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”