Partnership work in Thurrock helps those with liver disease

A PARTNERSHIP between Basildon Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospice now means that patients with advance liver disease can access beneficial hospice services not available at the hospital, such as group support, therapies and counselling services.

Molly shares her experience of this successful collaborative approach.

‘’Over the past 20 years I have developed complex health issues which has left me with chronic liver disease and heart failure. Despite having had amazing support from my GP surgery, Basildon Hospital and my family, church and friends, about 2 years ago I reached a very low point in my life. I am used to coping with being ill and the restrictions it places on my life but at this particular point I was just so tired and frustrated! I became withdrawn and started to feel stressed; I didn’t want to do anything, becoming quite insular and depressed.

“On one of my regular visit to the Liver Clinic at Basildon Hospital, I was asked how I felt about spending some time at St. Luke’s Day Hospice. Although surprised, I was at such a low ebb that I would have said ‘yes’ to anything that might have improved my situation. My family and friends were equally surprised and shocked when I explained that the aim of my going to St. Luke’s Hospice was to help me feel better not because I was going there to die!

“I didn’t quite know what to expect on my first visit –I found it all a bit strange, but I soon found myself enjoying the day- talking with other patients, and nurses.

“Whilst at the Hospice I learned how to cope better both mentally and physically. Not all the patients I met had the same illness as me, some had cancer and others Motor Neurone disease or a variety of other illnesses, but we all shared a common bond, and over the weeks we became friends.

“Gradually, I found myself smiling again and I started to have meaningful conversations about what I could and couldn’t manage to do. The Hospice, although not being able to cure my illness, has enabled me to cope with it. I am now aware of my own limitations, and the Hospice has taught me how to manage what energy I have.

“I now attend a monthly liver clinic group support meeting at the Hospice, which has enabled me to ‘keep on top’ of my condition. There have been times where I have mentioned a ‘change’ in my condition, and the Hospice has been able to advise me on what to do, saving me from worrying further or visiting my GP. I know, as do my family, that we are able to contact the Hospice at any time if anything is worrying me or if I ever need support or advice. My experience at the Hospice has turned my life around. I am so grateful I was referred to them.’’

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