Jason's Story for Hospice Care Week.

We’re here for you – whoever you are.

That’s the message we want to get out this Hospice Care Week, which runs nationally from 10 – 14 October.

We want people to know our doors are open at St Oswald’s Hospice for anyone who needs our care.

As our Chief Executive Steph Edusei said:

“At St Oswald’s Hospice our slogan is “Quality time for everyone”, and that truly is what we strive to deliver to everyone who comes into our care.  However, we know that some communities or groups of people don’t access our services as much as others – and we want to understand why.”

It’s only by talking to and listening to people that we can begin to understand any barriers there may be.

Two weeks ago, we spoke with Jason Stewart, about his experience as a patient at St Oswald’s Hospice, his Gypsy Roma roots and why he would encourage you – whoever you are – to consider hospice care when you need it.

Jason, 52, was recently an inpatient on the Adult Inpatient Unit following complications caused by his lung cancer treatment.  Jason feels that the care he received is something that everyone should have access to – no matter what their background.

Jason said:

“I was born in Northumberland, I’m a Northumbrian through and through.  Part of my heritage going back was that my grandparents were both Roma Gypsy and my mother is Roma Gypsy too. And by blood I’m linked to that community. Although I don’t live the traveller life now, I still feel very much part of it.  It’s that sense of community that I love about the Gypsy Roma life, however, I’m very aware that not everyone views it the same way.”

Jason continued:

“Within the community there’s a feeling of not being entitled to healthcare, but Roma communities deserve the same shot and the same chance at life as everyone else.”

St Oswald’s Hospice aims to be a place where everyone feels welcome, whoever they are.  Jason has certainly found this to be true:

“I’ve been in the hospice a few times. I love it. The staff are amazing.  You can have anything you want so they really do make you feel comfortable and at home.”

Jason was first referred to St Oswald’s Hospice after discovering he had lung cancer that had spread to his brain.  Since then, he has suffered two strokes, as well as a developing Osteoporosis as a result of his chemotherapy. This has caused one of the vertebrae in his back to crumble, causing him significant pain.

To help him with this pain and any other symptoms, Jason was referred to a new outpatient service at St Oswald’s Hospice, the Combined Supportive Care Service.

This service is provided jointly by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St Oswald’s Hospice, and is specifically aimed at helping lung cancer patients to manage their symptoms and make life a little easier for them.

Jason said of the new service:

“Dr Felicity Dewhurst and Jenny Welford, the Occupational Therapist, were both brilliant. They just make you feel that you’re in the right place, at the right time. . We’re using pain management techniques to keep on top of it, which is working.”

However, when it became clear that Jason needed more care and support than a weekly clinic, he was admitted to the Adult Inpatient Unit.

Jason said:

“Obviously, I don’t want any of this to be happening. But to be in a place like this when it is happening is the best thing.”

When asked what he would say to the Gypsy Roma community about considering hospice care, Jason said:

“I would say if they find themselves in need of hospice care, come along to St Oswald’s Hospice. At least have an introductory meeting and you’ll see, it’s not what you think it is.”

Chief Executive, Steph Edusei, strongly believes that we can break down barriers and open up end of life care, as well as our other hospice services, for all.

“We will continue to reach out to our local communities and get to know them better and help to reduce any fear and myth around hospice care… We care about individuals and want to support them to make the most of the time they have. As an organisation we’re committed to this and it runs through everything we do.”

Throughout Hospice Care Week, we’re sharing stories that show how we strive to deliver on our aim of providing “Quality time for everyone”.  Follow us on social media to find out more.

Find out how you can support us and donate here

Or Text CAREWEEK to 70085 to donate £3 now.

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