There are many myths around hospice care; once in a hospice you never come out, they’re dark and dingy and full of gloom and doom. Preconceived views are hard to change but Cornwall Hospice Care is determined to prove the myths are far from the truth. As part of national Hospice Care Week (9th to 15th October), the Cornish charity is, on Monday 9th October, launching a campaign called #ChallengingPerceptions aimed at busting the myths about adult hospice care.
At the centre of our project is Caroline Brown from Par. Caroline had breast cancer five years ago, she’s a survivor and she isn’t dying, but she does need to visit Mount Edgcumbe Hospice once a week. After having a lump removed and her breast reconstructed, Caroline developed a condition called Lymphoedema. It’s a swelling in the body’s tissues associated with her cancer. A Train Guard, Caroline has a very physical job and some of the work can aggravate her symptoms, so she visits Clinical Nurse Specialist Helen Treleaven for treatment. “It’s a lifeline for me” says Caroline, “it keeps me going in every way and I can carry on working, which is important to me.”
“My perception of the hospice before coming here was probably similar to everyone else in that I thought you just come here and don’t leave again. I didn’t realise just what was here because as well as the Lymphoedema support, I also had physiotherapy here after my operation. Now I just come in, I see Helen for half an hour and I go again. It’s absolutely brilliant and much needed.”
“I get mixed reactions when I tell people I come to the hospice. To others it’s a place where people die. For me it’s a happy place and the support here gives me a quality of life. People also need to understand that when they give money it’s not for one thing, it’s for all the services the charity provides to both in and out patients.”
Medical student support
The initial stages of the #ChallengingPerceptions campaign were developed with two third year medical students from Exeter University, Ellie Webb and Rebecca Norman. They spent two weeks with Cornwall Hospice Care earlier this year as part of the charity’s education work, offering training to the healthcare workers of the future.
For Ellie, the experience certainly changed her perceptions, “I’d never been to a hospice and didn’t really understand what they were for. I think the only idea I had was that they’re places people come to at the end of their life for specialist care. I was quite apprehensive about coming and thought it was going to be a very sad place. It’s not though, there’s a lot of joy here and a lot of hope. It’s a realistic hope as people do have terminal illnesses, but there’s such a lovely atmosphere.”
#ChallengingPerceptions begins in the same week that Cornwall Hospice Care is opening the charity’s first two Neighbourhood Hubs in Wadebridge and Penzance in a determined effort to reach out and support people with terminal illnesses nearer to their homes – another myth busted! The charity will address a myth a day for seven days. Follow #ChallengingPerceptions at www.cornwallhospicecare.co.uk or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages – Twitter – @cornwallhospice, Facebook – Cornwall Hospice Care
Cornwall Hospice Care contact:
For more information please contact Tamsin Thomas on 01726 65711 (ext. 254) or 07970 232505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org