Weston Hospicecare’s day hospice offers patients who are well enough to be cared for at home an opportunity to seek advice, medical care and company.
Patients play games, talk to one another and enjoy each other’s company while nurses are able to assess patients and provide care in these friendly surroundings.
Patient Liam Tolan says the weekly visit makes a huge difference to him on a personal level and he wishes he could come more often.
He said: “I leave here on a Tuesday with a smile on my face. I thoroughly enjoy it and we all wish that we could have this session two or three times per week because you are able to leave your armchair at home and know you’ll be in a safe environment.
“The staff are amazing; every single one has a focus on every patient. They take on our anxiety and they deal with it, not in a way which is overly sympathetic, but in a really professional manner.
“I was surprised after four weeks because I had been telling the nurses things which could quite easily be forgotten in a normal conversation but instead they write it down and take what we are saying on board.
“The food is first class as well. We asked for the chef to come out not so long ago and everyone clapped him.”
Liam attends the hospice to help control prostate cancer that has spread to his bones. He says it is a relief knowing that it hasn’t spread anywhere else, and it is currently being controlled through medication with the help of the hospice.
He continued: “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but it spread to my bones. The positive news is, it is now only in my bones so I may be able to be helped to live comfortably for the rest of my life.
“It’ll never go away, but because it hasn’t gone anywhere else, it is easier to control.”
Describing his early life, Liam revealed that he doesn’t know his true age, where he was born or who his real parents were.
He said: “I don’t really know where I come from because I was found in a sack off the coast of Sligo in Ireland on a container ship. I don’t know who my real parents are, I don’t know which country I am from and I don’t actually know my true date of birth.
“My parents, who I call mum and dad for all general purposes, took me to the hospital when I was found and I weighed 3lbs 3oz.
“I was told that the shipping lanes had been checked to see which ships were bound for, or passing, Sligo that day to try and work out where I had come from. But we never got an answer.
“My parents had to work out a date that I could use for my birth and they chose 31 October. So, as far as I am aware, I will be 73 years old in October this year.”
For patients like Liam, the day hospice offers a like-for-like substitute to home with the added company and medical attention, something which he appreciates.
He said: “It is a really homely environment, I have the greatest respect for every single one of the nurses here at the hospice.
“It feels like everyone, whether they are sick or well, comes together as a team to make those of us that are unwell feel relatively normal and happy.”