Marie Curie gets ready to step out at Stormont

Marie Curie Hospice Lead Nurse Cindy Anderson says her work is all about helping people have the best quality of life possible Marie Curie Hospice Lead Nurse Cindy Anderson says her work is all about helping people have the best quality of life possible
By Brónach Ní Thuama

MARIE Curie Hospice, based on the Kensington Road, offer a wide range of information and support to those diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Their dedicated team offers round-the-clock care and support in a very friendly and welcoming environment.

Marie Morrissey, the Day Hospice Sister, said: “We have patients who come in for the day from the community, we have a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who work in Day Hospice, ranging from doctors, nurses, physios, OT, social workers, complimentary therapists and health care assistants.

“People at the end of their active treatment are referred to us, we are the link in the chain between the trust and the GP in the community. Our patients are still reviewed by oncologists, we are their link in the middle. It is all about giving our patients the best possible quality of life.”

Marie added: “We look at symptom management and special palliative care, relatives are welcome to accompany the patient so we can get to know each other and become a support network for them. We have people coming weekly, fortnightly and monthly and we cater our service to the needs of the individual, it’s all about what we can do for them and their family.”

The Marie Curie Hospice don’t just deal with cancer patients, they deal with all illnesses – Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, respiratory and cardiac, amongst others.

Cindy Anderson is the Marie Curie Hospice Lead Nurse. She said: “We have patients who come to us for symptom control or end-of-life care. Symptom control is to do with the management of pain or nausea or physiological care.

“There is a myth whereby people think that coming into a hospice is the end and that’s simply not the case. We have a higher proportion of people who come in for active symptom management, who are then discharged home than for end-of-life care.

“People can be apprehensive, the term ‘hospice’ scares them because they don’t know what to expect. With a lot of people, once they are here they realise the positives. It is so calm and relaxed in here, nothing is any trouble, the staff are fantastic, each patient has a dedicated team around them, we build up a great relationship.”

The Hospice has 18 beds which have en-suite facilities for the inpatients as well as family rooms and a beautiful garden for the patients and their families to enjoy.

Cindy added: “It’s not about death, it’s about helping people to live and to have the best quality of life possible. Our patients are very well cared for, as are their families and we will make sure we do everything we can to make them feel safe, secure and happy.

“If families want to stay over that’s fine, we can accommodate them and give them meals and look after them. It’s a very special place to work, it’s challenging but it’s rewarding and fulfilling, everyone always turns up the next day.”

While most people are fearful of the word hospice, Cindy says that should not be the case.

“This is a happy place, we see so much love and joy. If you can get somebody at the point of their diagnosis and palliative care journey, there is nothing to say that they can’t still jump out of a plane or travel the world.

“Palliative care isn’t the end of life, it could be a five-year journey. It’s about understanding how your illness will develop and managing it.

“You can still have a great quality of life.”

Marie Curie is delighted to announce the return of its hugely popular Walk Ten event.

The event, which is now in its sixth year, is set to take place on Friday, September 9 in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, overlooked by the iconic Parliament Buildings. Registration is £10 per person; children under 16 go free; on-the-night adult registration is £20; walkers are encouraged to raise a minimum of £100

Sign up now at www.marie curie.org.uk/walkten or for more information call 028 9088 2060.

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