Hi, I’m Felicity and I spent last Christmas at Overgate Hospice while they cared for my mum Barbara.

My mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in November 2019 which came as a huge shock to the whole family. In the weeks that followed my mum’s health deteriorated and she was in an increasing amount of pain. On 18th December she was admitted to Overgate Hospice to help with symptom management and pain control. My sister and I hoped this would give Mum a chance to relax and allow us the time to get a care plan in place for her when she came home.

The minute we arrived the staff could not do enough for us. Wayne was the first nurse we saw and he was so warm and friendly and immediately made us feel at ease. The Hospice was nothing like I imagined, it is smaller than I expected and much more relaxed and homely. Mum was made comfortable in her bed and the doctors and nurses took the time to talk to us both. Mum’s health worsened on the first few days of her stay and she was feeling low. Since her diagnosis Mum had barely left the house other than for hospital and doctors appointments but four days after she arrived at the Hospice, we got wrapped up and headed out to the gardens for some fresh air. We were able to spend time together as a family in the peaceful and beautiful gardens and it was the best day we’d had with her in weeks. We took some wonderful photos together and it was truly a special day. I will be forever grateful that the Hospice made this possible for us.

As Christmas approached we knew Mum would be spending Christmas at the Hospice but the staff made it clear that they would do everything to make Christmas as special as possible for us. My two children were able to visit and they felt comfortable to be there. They spent time in the family room or could head outside for some fresh air if needed. Having them there made it much easier for me to spend time with Mum and it meant so much to my Mum to still have them around. On Christmas Day the whole family came to the Hospice to enjoy the day together. The kitchen staff made a delicious three course Christmas Dinner for us with all the trimmings. Mum wasn’t feeling great so settled back into bed after her starter whilst we finished our meal but I will never forget seeing her eyes light up when the drinks trolley appeared and watching her sit in bed sipping her vodka through a straw made the day.

Lucie, the sister on the unit asked if there were any special things that we would normally do as a family at Christmas and we told her that my sister and I would normally watch a Christmas movie with mum. She said that they could help us to set that up in Mum’s room so we could still enjoy this together. Unfortunately in the days to follow, Mum’s condition deteriorated quickly and we said goodbye to her on 28th December. We never did get to have our film night together but to know that the staff at the Hospice offered to make it happen for us will always mean so much to me.

As a family we will always be so grateful that Mum was at the Hospice and comfortable in her final days but also that we got to spend one last Christmas together. Overgate made it a truly special one.

Overgate will be caring for many patients like Barbara this Christmas. If you would like to make a donation to help us to continue this care over the festive period and beyond please click below. 

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