It’s good to talk – and we’re trained to help

I often hear the expression “they are so brave” when people talk about someone living with a life-limiting illness.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 13:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 18:09 pm
Paul Jones-King with his beloved dog, Henry

The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word brave as “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”.

For me, brave is a word to describe someone who has a choice to do something, such as jumping into deep water to rescue a drowning animal, completing a zip wire when scared of heights, or going into a burning building to rescue someone – that’s brave.

‘Brave’ is meant to evoke positivity at an unimaginably difficult time in someone’s life, but from my experience of family and friends with a life-limiting diagnosis, that’s the last thing they feel.

What they do experience are feelings of being vulnerable, frightened and apprehensive. It’s these feelings that can be too distressing to share with a loved one because talking about death or dying can be incredibly uncomfortable.

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The HospiceCare nursing team is trained and highly skilled in having such conversations. For someone who has a terminal illness, talking about death can be helpful at any stage of their illness.

For people with a life-limiting condition, our information and advice hub drop-in at Berwick offers free practical, emotional, social and financial support for themselves or a loved one. It is open the first Thursday of every month, from 10am to 1pm, for people wishing to get help immediately or make an appointment with a healthcare provider.

It offers a wide range of support services from organisations such as HospiceCare, Berwick Cancer Cars, PALS (NHS Patient Advice & Liaison Service), Macmillan Cancer Support and Citizens Advice. The service is confidential, no booking necessary, and completely free – just drop-in.

The next hub is on May 2 at Hazel Marsden House in Violet Terrace, Berwick.

Our hub will be extended to Alnwick later in the year as part of long-term plans to develop our clinical services, which I will share soon.

I’m delighted to announce that we have appointed Paul Jones-King as HospiceCare’s chief executive. Paul, a highly qualified nurse and manager, joined us on April 1, bringing a wealth of experience.

He said: “I’m excited to be joining the HospiceCare team to work in an innovative way to further develop its already established and vital community service across North Northumberland.”

You can be sure that the new clinical projects we are planning will have the heart of our community in mind.

Until next time, be kind to yourself.