Priest Jane Dicker (known as Mother Jane) has a unique perspective of palliative care, having experienced it in different ways. She has pulmonary hypertension and brittle asthma, is under connected palliative care services where she lives, and has worked with hospices all over the country.  

“I believe hospices play a very important role in helping people with life-limiting diseases and it’s important to start early.

I’ve been under connected palliative care [as it’s known where I live] for four years, and I find it very reassuring. I have to admit I did panic initially, so I understand how some people feel.

I think that some misconceptions about hospices are historical. People have memories of ‘half-truths’ that live on with them, so then it can be like a mountain to climb to understand that things have really changed.

I’ve worked with many hospices, and with families as well as patients. Sometimes this can just be visiting to talk with patients and giving them an opportunity to have a laugh and see the human side of what it means to be ordained. It can be playing a game of cards or reading a book – and not necessarily the Bible!

It can be a misconception that priests are only there for people who have faith. For that reason, I’ve often gone round hospices wearing just a badge instead of a dog collar. 

I hope that my work with hospices has helped people find some peace, and to feel a little bit calmer about things.

It’s important for people to realise that palliative care doesn’t mean it’s ‘the end’. It’s about having the best quality of life that we can, given all our limitations.”