Let’s think differently about the word ‘hospice’……..
Yesterday I was with Janet Woodhouse again – nurse consultant for our region. Janet had asked me if I’d like to visit the local hospice in Hull to meet the team and look around their new purpose built dementia wing and talk about how we can work together…..
It was a glorious day for the first day of Autumn – according to the weather man – and Janet kindly picked me up in the village.
We were there to meet with their dementia development group.
We arrived at this fabulous building that immediately looked welcoming…
We were met by the wonderful Anna Wolkowski, who used to work with people with dementia but now works in palliative care and is the CEO at Dove House and Linda – head of clinical services. We passed this great room for children called the Smile Room – magic!
Anna immediately gained her gold star by proving me with a cuppa tea. We chatted about this, that and everything while we were waiting for the start of the meeting and everyone to arrive.
Lots of smiley people kept coming into the room – they were so friendly and welcoming..
It soon became apparent that there is a need to change people’s perception attached to the concept of the hospice………people think hospice = dying, so will often not consider the hospice as a place for support. What I saw today was hospice = a supportive environment, where everyone makes you feel welcome and the atmosphere is relaxed and smiley. This doesn’t mean supportive at the end of life, this means supportive services for people with any life limiting condition AND their loved ones, including people with dementia.
They’re bringing the medical and social model together……music to my ears……..
We spoke of my experience in the area……..and they said how sad this made them feel. They’d set up a support group for people with Motor Neurone Disease……….
We spoke of so many things; how a hospice setting could be the perfect place for people with dementia to gain support, NOT because it’s somewhere to die, but because the staff there are so experienced in supporting people through difficult situations – not just cancer care but any life limiting condition.
So many ideas and thoughts were forthcoming from all the staff. There was so much laughter. My phone kept beeping throughout ………🙄
It’s often said that a team will succeed with the right leadership – well Dove House has the most amazing leader in Anna. Her enthusiasm, passion and concern for her staff and everyone who pass through their doors is clear to see.
After we’d had the obligatory photo for Twitter……….
(yes, Anna even encourages her staff to use Twitter!), Anna and Linda took me and Janet on a tour of the hospice. They’ve diversified and have a wonderful community café that anyone can come and use. They also have a nursery in their grounds – both extra sources of income.
I was blown away by the self contained dementia units – places where people with dementia will be able to come instead of going into hospital if they need treatment. Calm, well appointed mini flats with a fabulous summer room that looks over their garden. The perfect place instead of the chaos of a hospital ward.. They also have an alternative therapies room, a rehab gym with up to date equipment, a craft and music room and magic gardens………..
I put up a ‘Sold’ sign on the dementia unit and will move in tomorrow………after all, I’d have access to all those wonderful amenities as well……………
They struggle to get people to see that hospice doesn’t always mean somewhere to die – one step inside eradicates all thoughts of dying as there’s too much to enjoy and do!!
Anna suddenly said ‘it’s ten to six’……….😳 where had the time gone!! I suddenly looked at my phone to find many missed calls and messages from both daughters……..🙄 OK, so we were a tad late finishing………the phone rang as soon as I got into Janet’s car so I got my telling off and was able to reassure everyone that I was still alive and kicking…….😂
Janet’s in a lot of my blogs lately……..thank you for including me in so much when services are so scarce in my area……Not only was I exhausted but in serious trouble for staying out late with Sarah and Gemma 😂😂………a small price to pay….😊