Yesterday, our Taunton In-patient Unit was visited by Lofty the Therapy Horse who truly brightened the day of our patients, as well as our staff! Our aim at the hospice has always been to make each day count for our patients as well as their families and carers. Over the years, this has taken many shapes and forms. Here are just a few of the ways that we do this, in your own words...

We organise weddings

For many of our patients, it's important that they make a commitment to the person they love while they can, and we're there to help them achieve this wish. In December 2015, facing his last days, Stuart’s wish was to marry his partner Sue. His brother Andrew attended their wedding:

Under the authority of a special licence, Stuart and Sue were married in one of the spacious, comfortable and beautifully floral rooms, with 20 or so guests, staff and officials in attendance. A short and simple ceremony was followed by an excellent buffet complete with bubbly and cake. (In fact, the food was so good that one of the guests was contemplating bigamy by marrying the chef!)

We make tasty food

Speaking of chefs, our fantastic catering team make lots of tasty food for our patients and their families every day, something which is often a highlight of their time in the hospice, as Ali noted when her step-son, Ambrose, was cared for:

Until you’ve had first-hand experience of St. Margaret’s it’s also difficult to appreciate that it’s the little things at times that really make the difference. For us it was knowing Ambrose was being cared for with such love, and that family and friends were able to be with him, even staying over at times. For Ambrose, it was all about the food - Clare, his wife, said he was always looking forward to the next meal, he couldn’t wait!

We keep the gardens in our In-patient Units looking beautiful

The majority of our patient rooms in our In-patient Units look out on to our gardens and, thanks to our brilliant volunteers, our gardens are kept in stunning conditions for our patients to enjoy:

The care and attention my wife received from all the staff, whether they were doctors, nurses or support staff, was wonderful. They managed successfully to get her symptoms under control, minimising any pain or discomfort, so that her last few weeks were spent in a relaxed and caring environment, with lovely gardens to look out on. She particularly liked to see the sun rise through the trees and the rabbits playing in the early morning in the gardens.

The grounds at the hospice are beautiful, and I remember fondly the lovely gardens that my Dad’s room in the hospice looked out on to.

Our In-patient Units are filled with beautiful flowers

We also bring some of the beauty from the outside in to our In-patient Units to make sure they have a homely environment, and that patients and families feel comfortable and special:

They always look so beautiful and add to the warm feeling of the hospice and the people who arrange them, like all the staff, are amazing and second to none - you guys make the toughest of things easier to bear by all the little things you do, and it's so true it is all the little things that truly matter! 

Terry's appreciation for the flowers meant that he donated the flowers from his wife Mandy's funeral to the hospice:

I particularly wanted to donate the flowers as the flowers in the hospice were lovely, and every time Mandy had food, there was always a small flower placed on her tray.

We get to know our patients

Susan visits our Lymphoedema Clinic and has received complementary therapy which has helped her symptoms massively. However, it's the fact that our staff and volunteers really get to know her as a person that has really made a difference:

It’s not just the treatments, the staff and volunteers are so wonderful, they seem to know what I’m feeling before I do. The other week, Viv picked up that I wasn’t quite myself and recommended I go to the GP - she was right, my medication wasn’t quite right anymore, and if she hadn’t mentioned anything I would have gone on for weeks before noticing something was wrong.

We provide 24 hour support

Our advice line is there 24/7 to provide advice and support to anyone at any time of the day or night. Pete found this service invaluable:

From the time Denise was diagnosed with cancer, the hospice provided home visits and advice at anytime of the day or night through phone calls; this was a great help to me, especially late at night when I needed advice on how to control my wife’s pain.

It doesn't always have to be a big thing or a huge gesture; we know that sometimes it's the smallest of things that can make a patient's day, or help a carer feel like they're not alone. These are just a few of the things we do to ensure that each day counts for those we care for.

If you would like to help us continue to provide our vital care, please click here to donate. Thank you.