“My care from St Giles has been absolutely faultless.”
Sally Harrison, 69, is living at home with her husband Steven thanks to the ongoing support of St Giles Hospice. She explains how our nursing team has helped her to live with her condition – and how a lifetime in nursing has given her a unique perspective on the services we provide.
Sally spent most of her nursing career working at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. She retired at 60 but four years later was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Soon after, she joined the IPF support group at the St Giles Supportive Care Centre, in Sutton Coldfield.
“I went to find out more about my condition, because I hadn’t heard about it before,” explained Sally. “I now receive palliative care and have been receiving visits from St Giles Clinical Nurse Specialist Sue Donnelly for two years.
“As my condition worsened I struggled to breathe so I started to suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, so I went into St Giles for three weeks for symptoms management.”
Sally went home for five weeks but her anxiety returned and the summer heat made her unwell, so she was readmitted to the Inpatient Unit.
“They were really able to help me and it gave my husband Steven a break from looking after me,” she said. “I came out and I’m still out seven weeks later, and I have the comfort of visits from Sue to ease my concerns.
“The great thing when you are at your home is knowing you can always ring St Giles and get hold of someone if there’s a problem.
“My care from St Giles has been absolutely faultless. The doctors and nurses are lovely and they explain everything so well. Everyone is so thoughtful and kind.”
Sally’s husband Steven added: “Everyone smiles and says hello. It’s a little thing in itself but so significant in the way it makes you feel.”
During Sally’s stay in the Inpatient Unit she had the chance to become reacquainted with an old colleague, our nursing director Katie Taroni, who credits Sally as being one of the inspirations behind the development of her career.
Sally said: “It was a lovely surprise to see Katie again when she popped her head round the door. I suppose I had a mentoring role with Katie as I was the Senior Sister and working with me was her first post as a Junior Sister. I remember her as a student and now look at her!
“She can be really proud of the team she has at St Giles. Nursing is a hard job and you have to be a special person with a caring disposition to do it well. St Giles is such a rewarding environment to be working in and that shows. Everyone gets on with each other and you can see the teamwork – the good rapport – which is essential.
“There is also good training and updating of skills, which is so important. As a patient it’s the only place I’d want to go to. It’s such a comfort to know that this wonderful environment is there for you when you need it.”