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10 May 2019 Community

Being seen as a person, not as a patient

Sarah is living with heart and renal failure and currently receives support from Kirkwood’s Support & Therapy department to help manage her condition.

Sarah’s journey with Kirkwood began when she was admitted to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit in January, where her condition stabilised and she was discharged back to her own home. Now living independently and attending Support & Therapy sessions each week as well as accessing support from the Family & Spiritual Care Team, Sarah has truly seen every aspect of Kirkwood’s care. This is her story:

“Coming to Kirkwood is an opportunity to come out of our homes, get involved with people and learn new things. There is a new thing every time and I want to come out, talk to others and meet new people.

“When I first came to Kirkwood, I was so worried because I thought that people only came here to die. It’s a scary thing and I knew that dying was a possibility for me. If patients lose hope and think that they won’t live, then things are harder. But here, everyone was encouraging me to get well.”

From clay classes to silk painting and needle work, Sarah enjoys attending art therapy classes each week as well as taking advantage of two of Kirkwood’s exercise programmes and its Complementary Therapy and Spiritual Care services.


Now getting involved with Tai Chi and hoping to start attending Kirkwood’s Braveheart sessions later in the year to manage breathlessness, Sarah has accessed and seen the benefits of a wide range of Kirkwood’s services.

“I have done lots of different things here I’ve never done in my life. We come here with our bodies tense because of all of the worries we have, but through massage and therapy groups you can share your thinking and there is always someone to talk to.

“Before I came to Kirkwood, I was in hospital and it felt like a hospital. Here, everyone is so friendly and they see you as a person, not as a patient.

“When I was so ill, I was admitted onto the In-Patient Unit and I thought that I was leaving this world. But all the staff, every single person, was so nice.

From the doctors and nurses to cleaners and kitchen staff, I was put at ease and there was not a single person who wasn’t nice, smiling and fresh all the time. Even during the night when I couldn’t sleep, they would always come and check that I was alright. The whole team is working on one person and making sure that that person is getting encouraged and getting well.”

"Everybody's heart here is so soft. They take patients as their own; almost like family members."

Kirkwood has been an important support network during a difficult time in Sarah’s life, and she feels her individual needs and preferences as a Muslim woman have been taken into consideration throughout her journey with Kirkwood.

She said: “Everybody’s heart here is so soft. They take patients as their own; almost like family members. All staff understand my culture, my clothing, my wishes to make prayer and empower me to do all of those things. The kitchen staff would always give me halal food and if I want to pray, they tell me which direction is facing the Kaaba and I’m able to see the Quran here too. I feel everything was really taken into consideration.

“If there is anyone worrying that they would not be able to access the Hospice’s services because of their culture or background; it is there for you too. I’m just so happy I found this place.”

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