When Peter Clampitt from Ashford was diagnosed with lung cancer, he was referred to Pilgrims Hospices. After a short stay in the hospice, Peter was able to return home, where he is now being helped to live well with the assistance of carers, home aids, and Pilgrims’ continued support.
He wanted to share his story so that others can learn about the benefits of hospice care.
Peter, a former engineer who worked across the UK and Europe, is originally from Folkestone. He has four children – Nick, Lisa, Emma and Laura – and lives in Ashford with Laura and her two daughters, Lily and Sophia.
Peter was initially admitted to William Harvey Hospital, Ashford. He said:
“I was in a very dark place, the darkest point in my life. Thankfully, the hospital team got me referred to Pilgrims. Death doesn’t frighten me, I’m not worried about it, but I did think that a hospice was a place to spend your last days – so when I first went in, I thought I wouldn’t be coming out.
All the staff have care in their eyes, they just want to look after you. The food is excellent and I had some great conversations with the hospice team; they made me feel really good. Never in all my life have I known people be so kind and caring, they always have smiles on their faces.
“But when I went through the doors, I thought: “My god, I’m in a palace”. It had an immediate positive effect on me. All the staff have care in their eyes, they just want to look after you. The food is excellent and I had some great conversations with the hospice team; they made me feel really good. Never in all my life have I known people be so kind and caring, they always have smiles on their faces. It’s unbelievable.”
“It was an exuberant experience; when I left, I felt so bubbly, I was bouncing around like an idiot. All the nurses lined up to give me kisses! It was a pleasure to go into the hospice and have my expectations completely changed. The word ‘hospice’ now fills me with joy.”
Pilgrims helped to get Peter’s pain under control and manage his symptoms, and ultimately supported him to return to the comfort of his own home with his family.
He continued: “Each day I spent in the hospice, I felt better and better. Pilgrims arranged care packages for me at home, and also helped to get accessibility aids in place, making it easier for me to do day-to-day things like using the toilet.”
Peter is also enjoying monthly reflexology treatments and would like to try out some of Pilgrims’ wellbeing groups in the future.
Hospices aren’t just somewhere you go at the very end of your life – they can also be a place you go to heal.
Due to the care Peter is receiving, he and his family are keen to support the charity. His eldest daughter, Lisa, completed the Pilgrims Way Challenge and plans to take part again in 2023. As Peter says: “If everyone helps and does a little bit, it really does make a difference.”
He added: “Hospices aren’t just somewhere you go at the very end of your life – they can also be a place you go to heal. People need to know that. Sometimes, they can heal you more than a hospital.
“My advice to anyone considering a referral to hospice care is: Take it, it’s wonderful. I kept looking at the backs of the Pilgrims nurses to see if they had wings.”