Pilgrims Hospices recognise that carers play an essential role in the journey of their patients, and they believe friends and family should be supported throughout. Their Wellbeing and Social Programme offer carers’ programmes and individual packages to support with the practical and emotional issues that people may experience in a caring role. Here, Yvonne Riley from Whitstable shares her experience of that support.
I’ve seen hospice care from both sides, as a carer myself and as a friend.
I first accessed Pilgrims carers’ services when my partner was cared for in the hospice at the end of his life; that was ten years ago. Now I’ve come back to support my close friend, Betty Mount, who cares for her husband, Ted, who has cancer. Betty has a visual impairment so I drive her from her home in Hillsborough, Herne Bay and come to the hospice with her to take down any information she needs.
My own experience with Pilgrims was amazing. They made me feel important, which when you are a carer you really don’t. Now, with Betty, Pilgrims is giving her the same excellent support and with even more services available.
My own experience with Pilgrims was amazing. Now, with Betty, Pilgrims is giving her the same excellent support and with even more services available.
When Betty was first invited to come to Pilgrims for a Carer Wellbeing day she wasn’t keen. We’ve been friends for 30 years and have been through everything together, so I said I’d join her.
As soon as we came through the door we felt at home. The tea was on, there was a lovely smell of lunch and we were welcomed by volunteers. It didn’t feel clinical, it felt normal – like Betty coming to see me at home but with a lot of other people there, too.
By the end of the first session we had made lots of new friends! You feel safe. It doesn’t matter whether you feel like laughing or crying, no one will judge you.
Pilgrims nurses pop to see us in the Therapy Centre and see Betty at home, too. The community nurse visits Ted to keep an eye on his medication and make sure his symptoms are managed.
As soon as we came through the door we felt at home. The tea was on, there was a lovely smell of lunch and we were welcomed by volunteers. It didn’t feel clinical, it felt normal.
There’s been a change in Ted as well; he is much more mobile, and even comes and uses my exercise bike – we say ‘it’s a miracle’.
Betty’s been given the Pilgrims Advice Line number to call any time. You might only have a really simple question, but the Advice Line means that you can ask and you don’t feel alone.
Pilgrims gives you a release as a carer – some time to look after your own needs without feeling guilty. It’s been wonderful to see how much Pilgrims support has given Betty more confidence in supporting Ted.