Islanders are being urged to get involved with the work of Mountbatten during an annual national campaign to raise awareness of hospice care. 

The theme of this year’s Hospice Care Week, which takes place 8 to 14 October 2018, is ‘Heart my hospice’. Organised by national umbrella organisation, Hospice UK, the week is an opportunity to talk about the work hospices do at the heart of their communities. Together with hospices from across the country, Mountbatten will be educating people about the care services provided to Islanders and addressing the misconceptions and fears many people have about hospices. 

On any one day, Mountbatten supports nearly 1,000 Islanders facing death, dying and bereavement through a wide range of services. The majority of the end of life care charity’s work takes place in people’s own homes, backed up by a 16-bed ward at Mountbatten Hospice in Newport. A small team at St Mary’s Hospital supports patients with palliative care needs to return home or to transfer to Mountbatten Hospice.  The John Cheverton Centre provides a social space for people to get involved in support groups, attend outpatient appointments and take part in art and music therapy.

Islanders can get involved during Hospice Care Week by pledging to volunteer, fundraise, take part in an event, visit a Mountbatten shop or make a donation to help Mountbatten continue to provide vital care to our local community. Support could even be as simple as sharing why you ‘heart’ Mountbatten on social media and using the hashtag #HeartMyHospice to show your involvement. 

Among those showing their support is Steve Jones, 55, of Newport, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer 11 years ago. He was recently admitted to St Mary’s Hospital in severe pain. Steve was later transferred to Mountbatten, where the medical team controlled his symptoms sufficiently well that he could attend his daughter’s wedding.  

Steve said: “Everyone knew about the wedding the minute I got here and, although it had nothing to do with my medical treatment, the immediate focus was to get me to the wedding; they knew it was very important to me. That night, for the first night in years, I slept for about ten hours.” 

With the support of Mountbatten medical, pharmacy and nursing staff, and with his pain under control, Steve was ready for the forthcoming nuptials; “I felt so well, just after that night’s sleep, I got up and had almost no pain at all. I made it to my daughter’s wedding, walked her down the aisle and stood up to make a ten-minute speech. Everyone said the transformation was incredible and I don’t think I would have made it to the wedding without the support of the staff and volunteers. 

It was the best moment of my life and I can’t thank everyone enough for it, it was such a gift. Everyone was saying that the best present my daughter could have had was my being there. It was incredibly moving, it was wonderful,” Steve added. 

Steve admits that, before his recent experience at Mountbatten Hospice, he was among those who didn’t understand that the hospice ward is also a place for respite and rehabilitation; “I didn’t realise a lot of the work done here is about getting you better, so you can transition back to life but with having that support there, so if things are bad you can get help again. I’m just blown away by all the volunteers who give up their time freely. They probably think of themselves as average people, but they are remarkable – the dedication and the fact that nothing is too much trouble.” 

As part of Heart My Hospice week, Mountbatten will be sharing short videos of supporters telling their stories about why hospice care is important to them. You can view these videos via Facebook and Twitter @MountbattenIW Islanders are encouraged to show their support by sharing the videos and telling their own stories about how Mountbatten has been at the heart of their own lives.