My mission is for all our business supporters to have an insight into life here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice so over the next year, I’ll be blogging about my experiences as we reach out to more corporate supporters to raise awareness of the great work happening here.

The second blog covers two moments which have made me draw breath, as I explore what the teams at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice really do to support patients and their loved ones.

‘But listen, the Hospice was great’

Dawn and the team at Ceramic Tile Distribution based at Kings Norton Business Centre are holding a football tournament and disco to raise funds for the Hospice. It’s a collaboration of colleagues and suppliers, along with friends and family, working together to hold a great event to support Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Knowing that our Hospice at Home team are out there making end of life journeys more bearable, and at times being part of positive, special and precious memories makes me proud to work at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

When we first met Dawn she explained to me that the Hospice was very special to her as the Hospice supported her Father when he died.

At the time I had no idea that this wasn’t the end to her story. We spoke again a few weeks later where she explained that very sadly her sister had passed away under the care of Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice nurses too.

In both of our busy offices, for a moment in time, both of our worlds’ stopped. Then she said,

 ‘But listen, the Hospice were great. The Hospice at Home team supported us and they became our friends really. When I told you the Hospice was special to me, this is why’.

The conversation left a lump in my throat, but also a smile. Knowing that our Hospice at Home team are out there making end of life journeys more bearable, and at times being part of positive, special and precious memories makes me proud to work at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Dawn is an amazing supporter. Throughout her sister’s illness and recent death she finds so much energy and enthusiasm to support the Hospice, and is always telling me how wonderful the nurses are. This means a lot to me, it reaffirms why I do what I do here.

From the moment we walked in

My second experience came from spending time with a clinical nurse specialist, Rose. We went to visit a patient at home who had lung cancer, who Rose had been visiting regularly. This is what I witnessed...

Rose pulled everything together and brought some comfort

From the moment we walked in, Rose changed the chaotic feeling in the home. She turned the television down and held the patients hand. She talked in a gentle and friendly manner, paying attention to all the changes to the patient since her last visit a week ago and asking how the patient was feeling.

Rose also listened patiently to the daughter, as she anxiously talked through how watching her Mum deteriorate was distressing and that she didn’t know how to make her more comfortable.

Rose pulled everything together and brought some comfort. Rose contacted the Doctor’s Surgery and requested a prescription change along with blood tests and a GP visit. Rose also encouraged the daughter to take support from our Family and Carer Support Team, who will support the Patient’s Daughter in her own journey through this emotional time.

Then came ‘the conversation’. Where would you like to die? Who do you want around you? What is important to you when you die? These are questions many of us are afraid to ask (our latest campaign throughout Dying Matters week #BrumYODO – You Only Die Once - explores this further). But the Hospice nurse’s calm and gentle approach made the conversation as comfortable as possible and covered topics to support the patient to have a ‘good death’. 

This made me think more about what our Clinical Nurse Specialists at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice do. It’s more than rudimentary practical help, our special team of Nurses become advocates, friends who have very specialist knowledge in palliative care and an extensive network to provide the very best support possible throughout illness.

They are special because of their skills, colleagues and networks, and also the time they can give. The appointment I went to lasted an hour and forty minutes. This didn’t matter. We only left when we knew that we had put in place everything we could do for that Patient and her Daughter.

We can’t do this without you

As always we couldn’t do any of it without our supporters. This month has also seen some key events for the fundraising team. The annual Golf Day at Edgbaston Golf Club saw many keen golfers return and new some faces too Our Supporter’s Evening was a great way to celebrate the diversity in our supporters and share the way they raise funds and awareness; runners, cyclists, knitters, bakers, event organisers, pub owners, gardeners all using their talents to support the Hospice.

It was great to see so many supporters together and experience how every £1 raised supports people and their families to experience a ‘good death’. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, without you families would not be able to say ’but listen, the Hospice was great’.