My hospice story: Kim
Kim, 52, lives in Bedfordshire and has PAH. She receives care from her local hospice in Luton.
“It was my PH specialist who initially suggested I might benefit from hospice services. I think my face said it all, but he assured me it was palliative care, not end-of-life care.
It was 2017 when I first started attending the palliative care centre at Keech and I initially went for 11 months, to help with my anxiety. I was always welcomed with open arms.
Everyone had such a laugh; it’s amazing what they do. I would have a weekly one-on-one chat with the nurses about any problems or niggles and would be able to see the on-site doctor if I needed to. Everything was taken care of.
There is even a hydrotherapy pool, music therapy and complementary therapies like reiki and reflexology. Lunch was always fantastic, and we would all sit and eat together round the table. In the afternoons we would sit and chat, and not just about our illnesses. It was just a very relaxing place that I felt safe in.
I also joined the hospice walking group, and it was amazing how much I gained mentally from going for a walk and doing more than what I thought I could. We all felt we were on the same level, even though we all had different illnesses. We all encouraged each other, and I made friends with quite a few people.
I have some really good memories of my time at the hospice. Everything was focused on the positive; our illnesses were nothing to be ashamed of.
After 11 months it was felt that I had benefitted enough to move on and manage the anxiety around my condition myself. But I did go back again for nine months and the door has been left open for me to back again if I need it.
Everyone has that perception of what they think a hospice is like. But mine is the most upbeat, positive place you can walk into, and that’s what shocked me – in a good way!”