THIS week (9th – 15th October) is Hospice Care Week and St Oswald’s Hospice, based in Gosforth, is highlighting the many varied services they provide and dispelling myths about hospice care.

You might think that hospice’s only care for people with cancer. In fact, 1 in 5 of patients cared for at St Oswald’s Day Hospice have conditions other than cancer, such as Motor Neurone Disease and heart disease.

St Oswald’s has a range of day services, providing support to people during the day. Their day services are made up of day hospice and outpatient services including lymphoedema management, complementary therapy and a programme of therapeutic activities called ‘Focus on Living’.

Joe McConnell, 64 from Gateshead, has been coming to Day Hospice at St Oswald’s for three years. He was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given three to five years to live. Seven years later, he’s full of life and says that one day he’s determined to get out of his wheelchair. Joe tells us more:

“When I first walked in to St Oswald’s, I said I came here to live, not die. I come to the Hospice on a Thursday and I forget about my illness.

“People I meet outside of St Oswald’s sometimes think I just come to Day Hospice for a meal, but it’s so much more; I feel part of a group and I get lots of support, both mentally and physically. I meet patients who I wouldn’t normally come in to contact with, and so many different staff and volunteers. I’m supported by nurses and doctors, and lots of other staff too. I met with one of the Hospice social workers recently about an issue I wasn’t getting anywhere with, and she got involved and helped to resolve it – you get a whole package of support.

“I’m at St Oswald’s for about four hours a week and I feel so much fulfilment. I come here and have a laugh and the weight of my illness feels lifted. The Hospice adds love to life – I feel like I come back with a coat of love, and my family say I come home a different person.”

Throughout Hospice Care Week, St Oswald’s Hospice will be sharing messages every day on their social media channels about how their services have grown to meet the needs of the local North East community. Follow their messages at @stoswaldsuk or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stoswaldshospice. You can also get involved using #HospiceCareWeek.

To make a donation to St Oswald’s call 0191 246 9123 or visit www.stoswaldsuk.org

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