Visit to Dove House Hospice in Hull

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…

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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!

Maybe I should rename my memory room, my Smile room!
Maybe I should rename my memory room, my Smile room!

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……….

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(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!!

The words on the front of their booklet says it all......
The words on the front of their booklet says it all……

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….😊

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

5 thoughts on “Visit to Dove House Hospice in Hull

  1. Totally agree with you. Hospices are not “somewhere to die”. They’re somewhere to live, with care and support. My mum, who had dementia, was ‘lucky’ (strange thing to say, I know) to end her days in a lovely Nursing Home which had a Gold Star for end of life care. I didn’t know such things existed! It was the nearest thing to a Hospice for those with Dementia that we could find. It was wonderful: full of life, incredible staff (no uniforms so no differentiation), residents were able to do what they could do, with support if necessary. My mum was sadly beyond enjoying the usual activities, so one carer brought in her day-old chicks to hold by mum’s face – just one example of an incredible moment for everyone who saw it. The owner brought her dog into work and let her wander at will amongst the residents. She (the dog) was docile or lively when the circumstances warranted. I don’t know how she did that, but she just knew. Meanwhile, as always, I love your blogs – keep on doing what you’re doing – you’re good at it! x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful staff beautiful surroundings home from home what more could anyone ask for relatives I personally cannot praise the hospice enough certainly changed my thoughts of a hospice when my mum peacefully passed away here. I will continue to support this very special haven.

    Liked by 1 person

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