Sue Austen-Drennan has been a patient at our day care centre for a short time, and kindly agreed to share her thoughts on the hospice experience so far…

Q: Hi Sue, so how did you come to know about Skanda Vale Hospice?

I knew about the Skanda Vale Ashram because I’d been there before, but it was a counsellor who came to the house that actually recommended Skanda Vale (Hospice).

I left it for a few weeks because I was a little bit put off by the term ‘hospice’. It had connotations for me – I didn’t feel that I was in that space to need that kind of care.

My job is working as an admin for the long-term care team, so my experience of hospices are basically for people to go for end of life care. My aim is to hopefully recover, so I was a bit concerned when it was first mentioned because I wasn’t sure whether there was something that someone wasn’t telling me, and that was why I was being referred to a hospice.

Q: Have you found it helpful being here?

Absolutely! Absolutely – my partner actually said to me ‘Only you could come back from a hospice and be so buzzed up about it!’

It’s a day out. It’s a pamper day for me. Everybody totally looks after me, making me cups of tea and… you know… it’s a fantastic atmosphere. Everybody is incredibly friendly.

The environment isn’t like a hospital environment. It’s somewhere that you could come and have counselling and therapy, but it doesn’t feel like that because it feels like you’re sitting on a settee with a friend, just having a natter.

You can talk about anything, because everybody’s in the same boat, in one way or another. And if you do need advice on anything there’s always a qualified nurse or a carer or somebody who’s in a position to give you advice.

You don’t feel like you’re taking up too much time. If you are at the doctors or at specialist appointments all the time, there’s always this… well, you’re always waiting for them to look at their watch, you know?

I’d recommend it to anybody at any stage to be honest with you, with whatever they’re suffering – it’s really helpful. The first day I came here I spent time in the sacred space, I did a bit of sitting and meditation. Just spent some time looking in the garden, which is fantastic as well.

You see, there’s quiet places you can go if you want to, and that’s respected. You can just go and watch the fish, or have a sit in a quiet space – which is needed as well sometimes. You know, it’s not like you have to be in with everybody and be talking if that’s not how you feel that particular day.

Thanks Sue! Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I’d just like to say, that if anybody is in two minds, just come and see the place. Come and visit. The atmosphere of the place is really difficult to explain, but it’s a very warm, welcoming, lovely place to go.

A bedroom in our respite unit:

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