“Richard felt so safe and secure when he was at the hospice.”
As the former local vicar for St John’s church in Shenstone and St Peter’s Church in Stonnall, Richard Bailey was a regular visitor to St Giles for a number of years, going to see members of his church who were patients at the hospice.
So when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by having inhaled asbestos while working as a carpenter in the 1960s, he and his family knew how much support the hospice could provide.
His wife Marilyn said Richard had extensive treatment before the family were told by the hospital, the following year that he would be referred to St Giles.
“We were introduced to one of the St Giles doctors and a community nurse who were both so knowledgeable and so willing to help,” she said.
“As he was struggling with his breathing, Richard went into the hospice for an assessment and symptom management and spent three weeks there.
“When he went home, we struggled as a family as he was so ill, so we spoke to our community nurse from St Giles, to see if he could be re-admitted.”
Richard went into the hospice for the final time and Marilyn noticed immediately that each room was named after a local village and his room was called Shenstone.
“It was almost as if this was meant to be, when I saw the name on the door and it echoed the fact that Richard felt so safe and secure when he was at the hospice,” she said.
“The building is lovely and welcoming and the grounds are beautifully kept and so peaceful, but it’s the people that make the difference.
“The team at St Giles were open and honest with us as a family and that was very important to us.
“They helped Richard to feel secure and always tried their best to be available to talk and explain treatment and what they needed to do.
“This not only helped him, but all of us. We all really appreciated such dedicated people there who took the time to have the conversations to really making sure we knew what was happening.
“The hospice team were there to look after the whole of our family, including our pets and that was really important to us. Our little dog Hollie was a regular visitor on the ward to see Richard.
“In the course of family visits, three dogs were given hospitality and the reception staff even had dog treats especially for them.
“When Richard died, the whole family was there, along with our three dogs. We formed an escort, humans and dogs alike, to walk down the corridor to say goodbye. That was a moment I’ll treasure and remember and it couldn’t have happened anywhere else.”