Written by Rich, our Digital Officer.
Back in March, our lives changed completely. Asked to stay in our homes and limit contact with other people, a deadly virus was spreading. We had to stop some of our services to protect our patients and this included Welcome Group.
After completing our 12-week therapeutic programme in the Day Hospice, for those who will benefit most we have our Welcome Group. Once a week, patients continue to come to our Day Hospice for a relaxed day of conversation, activities and games.
However, to protect our patients, we had to stop this immediately in March but since then we’ve been able to create a virtual Welcome Group, which I joined in with to see how everyone was getting on.
On the video call, we had Jean, Nathan and Kevin along with Linda, our Day Hospice nurse, and Jean, our Welcome Group volunteer and resident quizmaster.
What was it like when Welcome Group stopped?
“Not being able to see everybody.”
“Welcome Group was something we all looked forward to.”
“I’ve only been fishing once or twice and shopping once in all this time.”
“There’s a need to talk with other people who are in a similar position and you need to air all your thoughts, to people who understand.”
“The contact with staff and volunteers, knowing that they’ve got your best interests at heart and that if you’ve got a problem, there’s somebody you can talk to.”
What’s it like having the virtual Welcome Group?
“It’s something to look forward to.”
“I look forward to it, it’s that important contact with everybody and it’s not just any people because over time we’ve become close friends.”
“We talk about things that are going on in our lives, sometimes difficult things, and just talking to people helps.”
“We’ve been doing quizzes and the Hospice has sent out little craft packs to us.”
“We also do a lovely relaxation activity at the end too.”
While I spent time with these lovely people, I realised how close they were as they joked around with each other and were able to talk about anything and everything. They’ve recently been involved with an exciting project that we have to keep secret for now but it led us to the topic of death and dying.
“It’s therapeutic to talk about dying and death.”
“There’s a time and a place to talk about it, like not at someone’s birthday party…this could be your last birthday.”
“The way I look at it is you’re born and the only definite thing you have to do is die and in between the two, it’s up to you.”
“…at least you get to stop paying bills and mortgages.”
“I’ve got a plot up the cemetery, she gave me the plot number and said do I want to go see it? So I had a look and then went back and complained, it’s in a boggy area and it’s right next to the road so it’s too noisy. So I got another plot and paid for it with my Tesco credit card and told all my friends that I don’t want any tears because I got my points. In my new plot, I can lie back in the sunshine. I’ve just come to the point that I’ve got 3 plastic bags on my body, and a stent so they won’t bury me, they’ll recycle me.”
“I might turn into a bottle of pop.”
“This is the importance of the group, being able to talk about things like this.”
“If you ain’t got no fun, you ain’t got nothing.”
It says a lot about the character of someone, that when faced with the knowledge that this may be your final chapter of life, you choose to fill it with as much humour and happiness as you can. Our Welcome Group lot are definitely doing that, with the help of one another, showing that hospice care is so much more than a building. Hospice care helps you choose how you want to live.
Thank you so much to Jean, Nathan, Kevin, Jean and Linda for letting me spend some time with you, it was an absolute pleasure.