Edwina and Lewis Earle's hospice story in Great Yarmouth and Waveney

“The support from the hospice team meant the world to Lewis,” said Edwina Earle (pictured above fundraising for the hospice), whose husband Lewis Earle received support from the St Elizabeth Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) teams at Beccles Hospital in 2020.

“He said he felt safe under their care, which was so important to us as a family. The nurses went out of their way to make sure he was as comfortable as possible and they were very reassuring.”

Lewis, Edwina and their family are one of more than 2,700 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 Hospice and ECCH, since its launch in April 2019.

Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis and neurological disorder, 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.

A familiar face to many in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth, Lewis came under the care of the hospice after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2020.

Lewis, who had worked as a street warden in Great Yarmouth for more than twenty years, initially received support from James Paget University Hospital before being referred to the services of St Elizabeth Hospice and ECCH at Beccles Hospital, where he died on 26th October 2020.

“Lewis went into hospital on 8th October and had one session of chemotherapy,” said Edwina. “It was heartbreaking to watch him go through that but once he was under the care of the hospice we felt reassured as a family, during an extremely difficult time.

“They allowed us to spend as much time with him as we wanted and the nurses were always offering us cups of tea or lending an ear to hear any questions we had. Nothing was ever too much to ask, they were just fantastic.

“Previously we didn’t know about the support available from the hospice until they came to help. They were there for us when before that we had felt we were on our own.

“They treated Lewis as a person and not as a patient. Our grandson was even able to spend time in the peaceful garden, opening his birthday presents in front of Lewis and I, which was so special as Lewis was such a family man.

“As well as the care they gave Lewis, they also supported myself. I received counselling support from the team at Beccles Hospital which was really helpful and I have come on leaps and bounds as a result of their guidance.

“We could never thank the hospice enough for the care they gave Lewis. We would recommend their support to anyone. It is a service full of kindness and compassion, which makes such a difference when it is needed most.”

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.

To contact the 24-hour specialist palliative care advice line, OneCall, call 0800 567 0111.

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