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.

St Oswald’s Hospice doesn’t just provide care and support the patient, the charity supports families too.

Aled Evans, from Bedlington, first came to St Oswald’s in May this year when his wife, Emma, aged 42, was admitted to their Adult Inpatient Unit for end of life care.

Emma, who had sarcoma, a rare group of cancers, died in the Hospice in July. Aled talks about the support that Emma, himself and their two children, Carys, aged 8 and Gwen, aged 4, have received from the Hospice. He said:

“At the end of May Emma was in hospital and it was suggested by our Macmillan nurse that Emma came to the Hospice. I’d never been to a hospice before and wasn’t sure if it was for us so I came to St Oswald’s and had a look around. It wasn’t what I expected, I thought it would just be a place for Emma to come to die, but I thought it was amazing. I told Emma all about it and then a couple of days later she was admitted to the Hospice.

“Emma stayed on the Hospice’s inpatient unit before she died in July. The care and support she received was amazing, but the staff and volunteers were there for me, and my two daughters, Carys and Gwen, too. During this time, it was Carys’ birthday, and everyone on the ward made the day so special. Emma was in a wheelchair and going home wasn’t an option for her so the staff and volunteers pulled out all the stops to organise a birthday party.”

Emma died at St Oswald’s in July but her family continue to be supported by the Hospice. Aled continued:

“While we were at the Hospice their Family Support Team supported all of us. The team helped me to talk to the children about what was happening to their mum, and also provided one-to-one support to the children.

“The support from St Oswald’s has continued after Emma’s death, and the children even see coming to see Brenda and Beth from the Bereavement Team as a day out. Gwen and Carys have benefitted from one-to-one sessions with the team, and group sessions with other children in similar situations. They have made memory boxes and drawings, and it’s good for them to know that they aren’t the only one who is going through the death of a parent.”

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