A Volunteer Advocate’s Account of a Group Visit to the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle Upon Tyne
“Before going on the visit, I had my own ideas about what a hospice offered, most of this information gleaned from various newspaper articles. Hospices were reported to be “kind, caring and positive places where people suffering from terminal illness went to die- in lovely surroundings”.
Whilst this is undoubtedly the case, I learned that Marie Curie offers much more than this. It’s ethos is based on the holistic approach to caring. As expected, it offers excellent medical care with dedicated staff at all levels. However it also offers social facilities such as a gym (totally unexpected) a beauty room, a family room and lovely private gardens. There are day care facilities and they also offer respite care. Patients are encouraged, whenever possible, to use the centre as a kind of drop-in centre should they need to. I thought this created a family atmosphere and support structure for the patient, their families and friends.
People affected by cancer are encouraged to make their own decisions. For example, if a person wishes to return home, Marie Curie staff will do their best to facilitate this with the support of outreach workers. This very much fits in with the ethos of an advocate, whose responsibility is to their ‘partner’ to help them attain their wishes and needs whilst encouraging independence.
The knowledge I have gained from my visit to the Marie Curie Hospice was enlightening and very informative and this will enable me to assist any people affected by cancer by providing informed choices. The whole experience was uplifting from the outset. I was left thinking I had visited a special place which created a positive approach to palliative care. I look forward to learning more from these types of visits in the future.”
Carol Price, Age UK Gateshead