Rebecca Hailstones tells of the care her sister received at St David’s Hospice

“Last year my twin sister, Rachael, was transferred to St David’s Hospice. She was only 22 years old and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. At first, she was not happy about moving from the Hospital to a Hospice. The only notion that she had of Hospices was that they compared to nursing homes.
However, from the moment of arriving it was clear to see that it was definitely the best place for her to be. The staff (including the volunteers) were so helpful, kind, and welcoming. They made the transition from Hospital to Hospice a stress free experience. It was great to have such caring and supportive people to help Rachael settle into her time at the Hospice.
Not only do the specialist trained nurses offer support, guidance and care for the patients, they provide so much for the families as well. They made me feel safe, knowing that there was always someone there, throughout the day and night. This provided us with the knowledge that Rachael was being cared for in the best possible way. They were very respectful of all our needs, there were no restrictions and allowed us to visit whenever Rachael wanted us to.
It was lovely to see that they took the time to get to know the patients and didn’t just talk about medicines, treatments and things related to the illness. They listened to what my sister had to say.
Rachael had her own bedroom, which was very light and airy, with space for all her home comforts. Within the room there was another drop down bed that enabled me to stay over with my sister, which was nice, as it was something we weren’t allowed to do at the hospital.
During her time at the Hospice, she got to know the staff very well and was very fond of them. It was important for Rachael not to feel like she was being treated any different due to her illness. The staff nurses were fantastic with her; they treated her like any other 22 year old. On one occasion, with the approval from the doctor, she was allowed home for a few hours to watch the football. I know that this made Rachael feel like she still had her independence and, despite her age, was taken seriously by the members of staff at the Hospice.
Rachael was made to feel as comfortable as possible. This included being offered complementary therapies including massages for her feet, back and neck. These massages helped with her relaxation and comfort. These therapies were also offered to my family as part of the care services.
The care that Rachael and my family received was brilliant. To think they are able to offer such excellent care and support just from donations and fundraising is amazing. They all make such a difference in the lives of people affected by terminal illness and I can’t thank them enough for everything they did.”