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Weldmar Hospicecare

Paul’s Story: “Staying at Weldmar’s Inpatient Unit had a profound effect on me”

30th August 2022


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Paul Briar has returned home following a stay at Weldmar Hospicecare’s Inpatient Unit, and he has a message for you – “don’t be scared if you need to go into the hospice”.

Paul, from Weymouth, was admitted to the Inpatient Unit to help manage his symptoms in June this year, having been transferred from Dorset County Hospital. It is a common misconception that you only go into the hospice to die – however, Paul received specialist palliative care from our IPU team and was then able to return home.

Weldmar Hospicecare

“You couldn’t ask for a better place to be”, says Paul. “It helped not just physically but mentally too. They helped me think about things other than my illness. The doctors there were marvellous. They wanted to get my pain under control, and gave me the medication that was best for me. Within a week, it was so much better. They were also very honest about my condition. I have stomach cancer, and months left to live. A straight answer like that was what I needed."

As well as being able to manage the pain, the stay at the Inpatient Unit also gave Paul his healthy appetite back. “Back in January, I just couldn’t eat. I would try and force down a banana, and only manage half. I would walk into the kitchen, and then back out again. When I went into the hospice, they gave me little amounts of food to begin with. The chef would come and see me and say I could have anything I wanted. I gradually found myself eating more, and by the time I was due to go home, I was asking for large portions! On my last day, they made me heart shaped toast. They were absolutely great.”

Paul was assessed by Weldmar’s Allied Health Professional team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists.  He found a three wheeled walker enabled him to become more mobile and independent.  “After about a week or so, I was using it to move around and go and sit outside in the gardens. It is so peaceful and tranquil there. Even when I wasn’t outside, with the windows open you could hear the waterfall in the grounds and the birds tweeting. It was so relaxing, and I had the best sleep there that I have had in months.”

Jane Smith, Weldmar Specialist OT and Sarah Hunter, Assistant Practitioner with the Allied Health Professional team, ensured Paul had all the equipment he needed at home. Sarah was then able to follow up with Paul once he was home with a visit, to ensure he was maintaining his independence and well-being.

Weldmar Hospicecare

“It really is ok to go into the hospice”, says Paul. “You’re totally looked after, and treated with respect and kindness. If you need help, it’s there. It was if they couldn’t do enough for me, day or night. If I was in pain, I could push the button and know someone would be there.”

“I was a bit embarrassed at first. I’m used to being the one who helps other people, and there I am as the one needing to be helped. But they were so reassuring. They would wash and shave me, and one nurse even cut my hair. I drew the line at them shaving my eyebrows though!”

Paul says that there was quite a transformation in the short time whilst he was at the Inpatient Unit. “They know what I think of them. The people that work there are angels, every single one.  If I needed to go back in, nothing would stop me. I love that place – it has had a profound effect on me.”

Our thanks to Paul for sharing his story. If you are interested in sharing your Weldmar experience, please contact james.oneill@weld-hospice.org.uk

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