Search

St Francis 30for30: ‘You don’t go in there and die, you go in there and get support’

08:32 10 June 2014

Michael and Beverley Simmonds

Michael and Beverley Simmonds

Archant

“I knew nothing about the hospice before this happened. You hear ‘hospice’ and you think it’s somewhere people go to die - but it’s so much more than that.”

Chris Nugent from Hornchurch isn’t exactly the kind of person you’d imagine benefiting from hospice support. As a healthy 68-year-old with a husband whose cancer is happily in remission, you might think a hospice and its connotations would be something she’d want to steer clear of.

But Saint Francis Hospice – somewhere Chris describes as “jolly” – isn’t just about end-of-life care.

Chris goes to the monthly carers’ drop-in session, mostly “for emotional support” – though, she adds, “listening to other carers, my situation is really easy”.

Her husband, who is recovering from pancreatic cancer, visits more regularly – once a week.

“Mike goes to the hospice day unit weekly for a social morning with others in his situation, and lunch.

“He can have massage, reflexology and other alternative therapies if he wishes, and also occupational therapy.

“He does painting while others make cards and do silk scarf painting, et cetera.”

Chris adds: “It’s great – he looks forward to it.

“You don’t go in there and die, you go in there and get support - it’s a much jollier place than you think.”

Collier Row pensioner Beverley Simmonds relies a lot more heavily on support from the hospice – but like Chris she’s full of praise for the Havering-atte-Bower centre.

Caring for husband Michael, 69, involves helping him get up in the mornings and driving him around.

“Virtually everything has changed” since he was diagnosed three years ago with Multiple System Atrophy, a condition Beverley describes as “Parkinson’s with extras”.

“He’s losing his voice - he was always a chatterbox so that frustrates him,” she says.

“He can’t drive anymore so I have to drive everywhere. It’s not quite the same.

“We used to love our holidays. We can’t go on holidays any more – he doesn’t like to be too far from home.”

Again, the support provided by the hospice goes far further than you might expect.

“They really do see that if they look after the carers, there’s somebody to look after the patient,” she says.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for them.”

Both Beverley and Chris reserve special praise for hospice staff Briony Townsend and Sandy Lawless, who run the carers’ drop-in sessions they find so helpful.

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to turn to hospice care, but Saint Francis Hospice can be there to offer support - in more ways than you might imagine.

Beverley sums it up: “It’s tough, but Saint Francis are very good.”

• This week (June 9-15) is Carers Week, a seven-day campaign aimed at raising awareness about the lives of carers.

Read more:

St Francis 30for30: Mall manager hot foots it for charity

St Francis 30for30: Raise funds by throwing a party

St Francis 30for30: Havering v Barking and Dagenham in student catwalk challenge

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:31

As fireworks and sparklers light up the skies above Redbridge, residents are being urged to be extra careful during another Fire Brigade Union strike.

Yesterday, 13:51
Pupils sitting an exam. Picture: PA/David Jones

Redbridge is home to some of the country’s brightest pupils with more than three quarters achieving five or more A* to C GCSE grades according to new figures.

Yesterday, 11:30
Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Yesterday, 09:37
Survivor of the Trilokpuri killings in East Delhi - a photo from the 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Remembered exhibition at the Wiener Library in Russell Square. Photo: Ram Rahman

WARNING: The image on this page contains graphic content.

Most read news

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition