David and Sarah's Hospice Story

“Before St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and their team supported David and I, we felt lost and bewildered,” said Sarah Adams, whose husband, David Adams, has been receiving support from the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) healthcare partnership, at their Beccles home and in Beccles Hospital, since March 2022.

“The support provided by the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH teams has made a huge difference to both of us and have given us reassurance during a difficult time.”

Since launching in April 2019, more than 3,700 patients and their families in Great Yarmouth and Waveney have been supported by the free specialist palliative care provided by the joint partnership of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH.

Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, chronic lung diseases – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and neurological disorders, these patients have received free care through the partnership’s varied, specialist palliative care provision available at Beccles Hospital, in the community and through the service’s 24-hour advice line, OneCall.

After a period of discomfort and ill health, David was diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the bladder and prostate in November 2020. Following his diagnosis, David underwent a course of chemotherapy at James Paget University Hospital before being referred to the services of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH in March 2022.

David, who is 54-years-old, explained: “I was given a few months to live and I was in so much pain, but once we came under the care of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH, things became far easier.

“For the first time in a very long while, I had my pain under control. Their care allowed me to have one last summer of independence and last year I was able to go out in my canoe on the River Waveney as well as enjoy bike rides, which I am so grateful for. I want to thank all the staff for what they do.”

Sarah said: “From that point on we felt less isolated, as there was always someone to call or talk to. Since March 2022, David has visited Beccles Hospital for appointments with the hospice team concerning his medication but also he has stayed in the hospital for short periods of time as well.

“We feel so fortunate to have such a facility only a short drive from our home. When David returned to Beccles Hospital to stay on the ward, in February (2023), all the staff recognised us and said ‘hello’ as we walked in – it has such a welcoming atmosphere.

“Neither of us had previous experience of what a hospice would be like, but similar to many people we assumed it was purely for end of life. However, we have found it is so much more than this.

“David has used such services as acupuncture to make him more comfortable, as well as regular blood tests whenever he has needed them. While we have both used the hospice’s emotional and wellbeing counselling service, LivingGrief, which has been of great benefit to us.

“We didn’t know St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH provided these services at all in our local area, and until you are in this position you just aren’t aware, but I would urge anyone who thinks they could benefit from this service to get in touch.

“They support both your physical health and your mental wellbeing and they can make such a difference to you and your loved one.”

For more information about the partnership’s services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/hospice-care/great-yarmouth_and-waveney.

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