LETTERS From Sue Coulcher, Sandown:
HAVING just retired, two months ago, after working as a healthcare assistant, in the inpatient ward and day centre, for some 18 years, I am feeling a huge need to inject some positive words into the mix, regarding the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
When I left, the hospice, was a busy, bustling, happy place, filled with life, love and hope.
The staff, cooks, housekeepers, nurses, volunteers were all going about their business, putting their professional "hats" on and getting on with their jobs…this remains exactly the same today.
Over the past 18 years, the hospice has grown and changed enormously, treating so many more symptoms of so many more diseases, not just cancer. It is also reaching out into the community and St Mary’s Hospital, encompassing patients and families alike. The John Cheverton Centre is now up and running, a very "buzzy" place, giving information, support, reassurance, numerous therapies, benefiting patients and families alike.
There is the day centre, where people pick up a paint brush for the first time or feel the warmth of clay in their hands as they shape a bowl or mug.
You see people laughing together, swapping stories, no mention of illness, but sharing a very social and active time. All the while, superb staff keeping an ever watchful eye, for any change in circumstance, be it medical or social.
In the inpatient ward, where those who are struggling with life due to the symptoms of their illness are admitted, very often feeling frightened, fearful and poorly, the exceptional skills of "the team" strive to get the best possible outcome for that patient and family, sometimes this is very complicated and challenging.
But the aim is to get patients back home as soon as possible to live their lives, for however long that life is, days, weeks, months, years or sometimes just hours.
With an ever-growing unit, inevitably staff changes are made. Five years ago, five staff nurses were removed from post and redeployed. This was in the name of cutbacks/restructure. Fear and anxiety filled us all at the time. This did not make the front page of the County Press.
Decisions sometimes have to be made, no matter how tough or how sad we feel about them.
For those of you who are thinking of withdrawing your time or your money, please, please think again. In our hour of darkness, we all need a beacon of light and hope.
This is what our Island hospice will give you, the Island people I am sure will continue to give and support.