Beth Warren is one of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s Ambassadors – she attends events, cheque presentations and raises awareness of our work. Beth started supporting the hospice after her husband Warren lost his life to a brain tumour in 2012.
What is your personal experience of the hospice?
I spent a lot of time in the hospice with my husband – from the point we found out that he was very ill with a brain tumour. We started off coming to the hospice in the day hospice – we both came together for the first session and then he continued to attend. He then had a period of respite; after that when he fell very ill, he was brought into the hospice which was the 2nd January. At that point we had recently found out that he had days, weeks or months left. His symptoms every day and every week were getting worse, so it was a time when we needed specialist medical care more than anything and it meant that we didn’t need to go to hospital. We were in here for a couple of weeks and it was fantastic.
Was the hospice what you expected?
When he was re-diagnosed and was poorly, we had a community nurse come and visit and discuss with us that hospice care was an option. The idea was introduced to us a long time before we needed it, which didn’t make it as scary. We came into the Day Hospice first; it was really just to give him something new and to give me a break, as it was difficult me being a carer on my own with our family living far away. Everyone was so welcoming – with the day hospice it was nice that we could come in together for the first session, and he enjoyed it so continued coming. Then when we were in here towards the end and things were very difficult, it just felt like a completely different world to hospitals. In hospitals it is all about giving people the medical care that they need and it’s not about the emotional care in the slightest, the relatives don’t get a look in, they don’t get a cup of tea or anything. Coming into the hospice is like a different world. All the worries that we had were just taken away from us and we could just concentrate on spending time together. I think that’s what’s so different – everyone has time in the hospice. Even if someone is not available for that minute, as soon as they are there, they are with you for as long as you need them, so it made a huge difference.