“Prior to our family’s experiences of St Elizabeth Hospice, the word ‘hospice’ meant a place for people with life-limiting illnesses to spend their final days,” said Andrew Brooks, whose Dad, Reverend Clive Brooks (pictured), received support from the hospice’s Community Team before his death at his East Bergholt home, aged 86-years-old, on 21 December 2022.
“Now, through the amazing care Dad and our family received, we know a hospice to be a place that provides exceptional care and comfort to those living through extremely difficult times in their lives, either at home or the hospice itself.”
Annually, St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 3,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
This care sees the independent Suffolk charity providing free services – whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice – to those living with a progressive or life-limiting illness.
Following Clive’s diagnosis of incurable cancer in early 2020 he was referred to the services of St Elizabeth Hospice’s Community Team in November 2022.
Andrew explained: “The hospice delivered pain management to Dad, with the hospice team visiting daily and providing specialist equipment to make him feel as comfortable as possible at home.
“They came twice a day but we always had the reassurance that they would come whenever needed, if we had an urgent need for further support; nothing was too much to ask the team.
“The hospice nurses provided Dad with amazing, compassionate care. Helping him with personal hygiene, washing and changing his bed sheets and looking after his general welfare. While they also supported our wider family, by allowing us to remain family and be there for Dad as loved ones, instead of becoming carers to him, which made such a difference to us all.
“This was invaluable to us, after having a recent experience in my wider family where siblings had to act as carers, which damaged the memories left behind, due to the mental stress caused. The hospice’s understanding and support was so vital in bringing comfort to us all, during a very stressful time.
“Nothing, no matter how well intended can replace expert assistance and nursing, seeing Dad cared for compassionately and professionally took a weight off our family’s mind. In the hardest of times being able to be just a family and having twice a day reassurance and someone to talk to, was immensely appreciated.
“Dad’s decline was so very fast, that moving him to the hospice was never really an option. So for him to be able to spend those last days surrounded by his life and family was so very positive for him and for the family. It meant we had the opportunity to be with him 24/7 and for him to have his wider family visit in a way that worked best for him and it was thanks to the hospice team that we were able to achieve this.”
To say ‘thank you’ to St Elizabeth Hospice, for the support they gave his Dad, in April 2023, Andrew is taking on the Glasgow Kiltwalk, which will see Andrew take on the 23 mile walk, the ‘Mighty Stride’, alongside his brother Stephen, Stephen’s partner Joanne and Aaron (Clive’s Grandson).
“Stephen and Joanne live in Glasgow and did the shorter, 14 mile, Kiltwalk in 2022 for a local charity, so to do the Mighty Stride for St Elizabeth Hospice, in tribute to Dad, was the obvious next step,” said Andrew.
“Training has been progressing well, with our weekly walks increasing steadily in length. We are all excited, as well as nervous, ahead of the walk but it is a brilliant way for us to give back to the hospice and its exceptional team, so they can support others who also need their care.”
To donate towards Andrew’s challenge visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stephen-Brooks11