Celebrating those who make a difference

"They looked after me, mind, body and soul, my whole person" 

If you break your leg you know what will happen. You’ll go to the hospital and a doctor will see you; the radiographer will perform an x-ray; the nurse may give you some painkillers and then the orthopaedic technologist will put a cast on. They and you know you’ll be in some mild discomfort, but that in a few weeks you should be back on your feet and fully recovered.

But what if you receive the news that no one wants to hear, that your illness has passed the stage of treatment and that the focus now is on managing the symptoms? It’s harder to know what will happen. Will you be able to stay at home, how independent will you be, will your family be able to care for you and how will they deal with this news, regardless of how you will deal with it? It can be a scary and understandably confusing time.

This is where the work of a very special group of individuals becomes important. The teams that work at hospices across the UK are working every day to support those going through this difficult time. They know that they cannot make the illness go away, but they work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for those they care for. They help them live as fully as possible and also support carers, family members and close friends even past the end of their loved one’s life.  

iWantGreatCare has published 4 million reviews on its site to date and 10,524 of them come from Hospices. To celebrate the amazing people who have been the subject of these reviews and those who have taken the time to leave one, iWGC is looking back at those reviews that have stood out over the years. The following comes from a review of St. Luke’s Hospice, Plymouth and was read by a member of the iWGC team in 2015, staying with her until this day.
“Coming to St Luke's I was suspicious, I believed I would be at St Luke's until the end of my life and I thought my life would end in great pain with devious staff making decisions for me and avoiding my calls for help and support.”
This trepidation is not uncommon, with many reluctant to go to hospices, fearing loneliness and loss of dignity. However, the vast majority of hospices are filled with caring and understanding staff, as he soon discovered:
“I was wrong and very happy to admit how wrong I was. The care at St Luke's has been outstanding. All of my needs have been met by caring, friendly, supportive individuals who have given me confidence in taking the next step back into the community, to a nursing home in Plymouth.

Being an independent man I have found it difficult to accept others involvement in my care. St Luke's have quietly supported me leaving me to manage when I have been able and assisting me when I have been less able. They have shown me how I could more easily manage my own care whilst helping me with tasks that have become more challenging. I have been involved in my care and well being throughout my stay at St Luke's. The team have looked after me, body, mind and soul, my whole person, not just my personal care needs. The feeling of safety and security, knowing everyone is looking out for me, informing and directing me but not trying to control me as I make my way around the building and surrounding areas.

My family and I have been treated with dignity and respect at all times. We have been supported in our wishes, whatever we have requested we have been able to discuss and we have carried out our plans as we have desired. The team always ask me if I am happy for family members to be involved in any discussions about my care. The Doctors have taken into account the shortness of time I have left and have enabled me to come to terms with my remaining time. I know the Doctors and all the members of the team are working in my best interest and they are following my wishes. Human Rights are a very important part of St Luke's values and beliefs, it is not rhetoric, they practice it openly on a daily basis.

I cannot pretend I am happy to be leaving, I would rather continue staying at St Luke's for the remaining weeks/months that I have left, but I know there are others like me who have suffered not only the pain and anguish of cancer but also the fear and horror of being admitted to Hospital. It is right that I move to a new residence so that others can receive the care, honesty and consideration of the team at St Luke's.”

Not only did St Luke's have an impact on the gentleman who left the review, but he also had an impact on them. They also remember him, telling iWGC fondly that he had a passion for motorbikes and whilst at St Luke's he and his family completed the renovation of a bike he had been working on.

Over the past two years St Luke’s has continued to offer care and support. The number of reviews are rising, and with this any worry or concern patients may have over hospice stays should be put more at ease by the transparent, honest and real-time feedback left on iWantGreatCare. It also allows the staff to read the thoughtful comments, putting a smile on their face while performing a very difficult job.

Dr Franki Dee, Head of Quality and Compliance commented:"iWGC has been wonderful for us. We report all comments to the Board of Trustees who also use the scoring to help monitor how our service is perceived. An additional unexpected bonus has been, when staff are named, the ability to use this for their professional revalidation." With an average score of 4.91 for the last 12 months, it is clear that St Lukes has continuously provided outstanding care for all its patients. A wonderful contribution to the 4 million reviews on iWGC.

If you’d like to read this review in full you can find it and many more reviews like it here.

If you or someone you know has experienced hospice care, help others by leaving a review for them on iWGC