Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

Sixth Form Visit St Mary’s Hospice

24 March 2016

On Wednesday 9 March a small group of Sixth Formers visited the St Mary’s Hospice in Selly Oak to find out more about its services here in the West Midlands. Upon arrival we were introduced to Kara, a member of the educational team who gave us a real insight into the different types of care and support it offers to its patients. Many of us were surprised by the great variety of services the hospice provides and the outstanding support network. For example, not only do they offer palliative care, they also provide amenities for children and the families of those who are being cared for. The hospice tends to the physical, spiritual and emotional care of patients and Kara explained how the definition of spiritual care not only refers to religion but also extends towards what matters most to the individual.

She then went on to describe the day-to-day life of a patient during their stay. We were surprised to hear that the specialist team provide education, relaxation and exercise as these are not things we automatically think of when hearing the phrase ‘palliative care’. Kara then showed us around the hospice and allowed us to enter the Family Ward and other areas for the patients. Each room overlooked the beautiful gardens, all of which were maintained by volunteers.  The areas were not only welcoming and modern but tended to the needs and interests of a wide range of visitors. We had a chance to see some of the artwork of patients and notes and memoirs written by families of those who had benefitted from the care of the organisation.

Although hospices are generally recognised as providing ‘end of life care’, we discovered that in fact, an average of 50% of patients return home within around two weeks of care - a figure we did not expect. This trip has helped us recognise the importance of hospices in our community and the profound impact they can have on individuals and their families. It was of great use to those of us considering a career in healthcare and has even encouraged us to volunteer at organisations such as this.

Our thanks go to Mrs Graham for organising and accompanying us on this trip.

By Hafsah Khan, Maryam Khan, Savannah Foster and Sasha Khuttan (Year 12)

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