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Michelle's Story

When Michelle’s late partner, David, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Thames Hospice was there to support them both. After volunteering for the Hospice as her very personal way of saying thank you, Michelle, 51, discovered in 2022 that she needed palliative care herself.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

In December, with her health rapidly deteriorating, Michelle called the Hospice’s 24-hour telephone advice line for urgent help, and was able to access the care and support provided by our new doctor-led virtual ward service so that she could remain at home.

Michelle says: “My chest infection at Christmas was particularly bad. I was scared. I was really scared. I wanted a bed at the Hospice but I didn’t want a bed, if that makes sense. I never felt so poorly. I thought ‘this is it, this is the end!’.”

Michelle is living with lung disease and is often admitted to the Hospice Inpatient Unit or local hospital so she can be cared for to treat and manage her condition and symptoms. But, Michelle lives alone with her two dogs and cat and has to arrange care for her animals. This adds to Michelle’s stress and also means she isn’t able to benefit from the comfort she gets from her animals as she recovers.

The virtual ward enabled Michelle to get the vital care she needed in the comfort of her own home. With daily visits from the multi-disciplinary team, led by our team of doctors, Michelle’s infection cleared and her symptoms were back under control within two weeks.

Michelle adds: “This service is really good because you can still be at home and still have all the professionals there to help you.

“Without the Thames Hospice doctors treating me at home, I don't know where I would have been. I was so scared but the Hospice team were there for me."

She’s now back under the care of the district nursing team and regularly attends the Hospice’s Paul Bevan Wellbeing Centre for holistic support.

Michelle continues:The virtual ward service was so important to me over Christmas. I feel so lucky. Everyone is here just to look after you and the staff are just amazing. Thames Hospice is like family to me now. I’d be lost without them.

“Some people want to be cared for in the Hospice, and some people don’t or can’t. Giving them the choice to be in their own home is really good.”

Make a difference

Our services are free of charge to all those in our community who need vital hospice care but this is only made possible through the charitable support and generosity of our amazing community. We need to raise £38,363 each day to fund our services 365 days a year to the people who need us most.

We’ve never needed you, our wonderful supporters, more than we need you today. Please donate what you can to help keep hospice care available for those in desperate need.

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01753 842121

Palliative care advice line

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01753 848925

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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