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Hospice Care Week – 10 to 14 October

Ria Melvin was a brave, talented and adventurous young woman who loved the outdoors. After she died in August 2021 aged just 25, her family funded a £20,000 gardening project at Saint Francis Hospice in her memory so more patients and families could enjoy the beautiful gardens all year round.

As part of Hospice Care Week (10-14th October) Kaz Melvin shares how her sister Ria came to be cared for by the Hospice after treatment for her brain tumour was unsuccessful and how the charity helped her to find peace and comfort in towards the end of her life…..

Ria really benefited from a lot of services at Saint Francis Hospice and it improved her quality of life. We did not notice at the time but in hindsight, it helped her so much on her journey.

She was not open to much hospice input when she was doing well. She was young and optimistic that things were not going to end up that way but in the last 6 months of her life, we had a lot of support from different services that had a big impact on us as a family.

Ria really enjoyed going into the Hospice and having honest conversations was a relief for her.

It was a space outside the home environment and it helped just being with people who understood what she was going through. She did not have to pretend everything was ok.

Ria had occupational therapy and physiotherapy. She loved the creative therapy sessions the most and painted a bird box which we still have hanging in our garden. She found it really relaxing and it calmed her mind.

Towards the end of Ria’s life, we also benefited from the professional medical and emotional support we received from Dr Corinna Midgley, the charity’s Medical Director. She came around to our house and had some really powerful conversations with Ria and us and it helped us to know what to expect.

Dr Corinna was always liaising with the community nursing team and it felt there was a wrap-around service that everyone was communicating with each other. It meant so much to know we had someone there to call upon if we ever needed to.

The Hospice was pivotal in enabling Ria to be cared for at home. They made it work by collaborating with the hospital and community nurses. It was what Ria wanted and it was what we wanted for her. The doctors and nurses taught us about medication and they did everything so Ria could die with dignity.

Ria was kept comfortable in her last 4-6 weeks while she was at home. We were really grateful for that. Everyone at the Hospice seemed to go above and beyond to make the end of her life as good as possible.

Counselling has been a big part of our connection with the Hospice. Ria had counselling for around a year on and off with Sue Spong and she developed a really close connection with Sue.

It enabled Ria to process what was happening to her as this was not something she was able to discuss with anyone else. Sue came to see Ria the day before she died and it meant a lot to Ria.

When Ria no longer had any treatment options in the UK, we set up a Go Fund me page to raise money so she could travel to Germany for specialist immune therapy. We raised an incredible £170,000 but it was unsuccessful. When Ria died we wanted the money to go to places that helped Ria and Saint Francis Hospice was one of those places.

We also wanted to raise awareness of hospice care. Saint Francis Hospice is not just a bed for you in the last few days of your life, it helps you to live better for however long you have and I think it is really important for people to know that.

The Hospice helped Ria so much when she was alive and after she died, the Hospice helped our family in bereavement and continues to do so.

I did not know that 85% of the Hospice’s care is in the community and I am a health care professional.

It was important to us as a family that Ria was honoured in the right way and our first thought was that Ria loved the gardens. She loved being outside. When we spoke to the Hospice and found out there was a gardening project on the wish list, we knew it was meant to be.

It’s wonderful to know more patients and families like us will benefit from the improvements to the garden which include an all-weather pagoda and wider paths so patients can be taken into the gardens in their beds if they wish to.

Knowing we are helping other people has given us a lot of purpose and a meaning to keep going. We have been able to channel our grief into something positive – It is hard to do but it has helped us through a difficult time.

Hospice Care Week – 10 to 14 October

Ria Melvin was a brave, talented and adventurous young woman who loved the outdoors. After she died in August 2021 aged just 25, her family funded a £20,000 gardening project at Saint Francis Hospice in her memory so more patients and families could enjoy the beautiful gardens all year round.

As part of Hospice Care Week (10-14th October) Kaz Melvin shares how her sister Ria came to be cared for by the Hospice after treatment for her brain tumour was unsuccessful and how the charity helped her to find peace and comfort in towards the end of her life…..

Ria really benefited from a lot of services at Saint Francis Hospice and it improved her quality of life. We did not notice at the time but in hindsight, it helped her so much on her journey.

She was not open to much hospice input when she was doing well. She was young and optimistic that things were not going to end up that way but in the last 6 months of her life, we had a lot of support from different services that had a big impact on us as a family.

Ria really enjoyed going into the Hospice and having honest conversations was a relief for her.

It was a space outside the home environment and it helped just being with people who understood what she was going through. She did not have to pretend everything was ok.

Ria had occupational therapy and physiotherapy. She loved the creative therapy sessions the most and painted a bird box which we still have hanging in our garden. She found it really relaxing and it calmed her mind.

Towards the end of Ria’s life, we also benefited from the professional medical and emotional support we received from Dr Corinna Midgley, the charity’s Medical Director. She came around to our house and had some really powerful conversations with Ria and us and it helped us to know what to expect.

Dr Corinna was always liaising with the community nursing team and it felt there was a wrap-around service that everyone was communicating with each other. It meant so much to know we had someone there to call upon if we ever needed to.

The Hospice was pivotal in enabling Ria to be cared for at home. They made it work by collaborating with the hospital and community nurses. It was what Ria wanted and it was what we wanted for her. The doctors and nurses taught us about medication and they did everything so Ria could die with dignity.

Ria was kept comfortable in her last 4-6 weeks while she was at home. We were really grateful for that. Everyone at the Hospice seemed to go above and beyond to make the end of her life as good as possible.

Counselling has been a big part of our connection with the Hospice. Ria had counselling for around a year on and off with Sue Spong and she developed a really close connection with Sue.

It enabled Ria to process what was happening to her as this was not something she was able to discuss with anyone else. Sue came to see Ria the day before she died and it meant a lot to Ria.

When Ria no longer had any treatment options in the UK, we set up a Go Fund me page to raise money so she could travel to Germany for specialist immune therapy. We raised an incredible £170,000 but it was unsuccessful. When Ria died we wanted the money to go to places that helped Ria and Saint Francis Hospice was one of those places.

We also wanted to raise awareness of hospice care. Saint Francis Hospice is not just a bed for you in the last few days of your life, it helps you to live better for however long you have and I think it is really important for people to know that.

The Hospice helped Ria so much when she was alive and after she died, the Hospice helped our family in bereavement and continues to do so.

I did not know that 85% of the Hospice’s care is in the community and I am a health care professional.

It was important to us as a family that Ria was honoured in the right way and our first thought was that Ria loved the gardens. She loved being outside. When we spoke to the Hospice and found out there was a gardening project on the wish list, we knew it was meant to be.

It’s wonderful to know more patients and families like us will benefit from the improvements to the garden which include an all-weather pagoda and wider paths so patients can be taken into the gardens in their beds if they wish to.

Knowing we are helping other people has given us a lot of purpose and a meaning to keep going. We have been able to channel our grief into something positive – It is hard to do but it has helped us through a difficult time.

Hospice Care Week – 10 to 14 October

Ria Melvin was a brave, talented and adventurous young woman who loved the outdoors. After she died in August 2021 aged just 25, her family funded a £20,000 gardening project at Saint Francis Hospice in her memory so more patients and families could enjoy the beautiful gardens all year round.

As part of Hospice Care Week (10-14th October) Kaz Melvin shares how her sister Ria came to be cared for by the Hospice after treatment for her brain tumour was unsuccessful and how the charity helped her to find peace and comfort in towards the end of her life…..

Ria really benefited from a lot of services at Saint Francis Hospice and it improved her quality of life. We did not notice at the time but in hindsight, it helped her so much on her journey.

She was not open to much hospice input when she was doing well. She was young and optimistic that things were not going to end up that way but in the last 6 months of her life, we had a lot of support from different services that had a big impact on us as a family.

Ria really enjoyed going into the Hospice and having honest conversations was a relief for her.

It was a space outside the home environment and it helped just being with people who understood what she was going through. She did not have to pretend everything was ok.

Ria had occupational therapy and physiotherapy. She loved the creative therapy sessions the most and painted a bird box which we still have hanging in our garden. She found it really relaxing and it calmed her mind.

Towards the end of Ria’s life, we also benefited from the professional medical and emotional support we received from Dr Corinna Midgley, the charity’s Medical Director. She came around to our house and had some really powerful conversations with Ria and us and it helped us to know what to expect.

Dr Corinna was always liaising with the community nursing team and it felt there was a wrap-around service that everyone was communicating with each other. It meant so much to know we had someone there to call upon if we ever needed to.

The Hospice was pivotal in enabling Ria to be cared for at home. They made it work by collaborating with the hospital and community nurses. It was what Ria wanted and it was what we wanted for her. The doctors and nurses taught us about medication and they did everything so Ria could die with dignity.

Ria was kept comfortable in her last 4-6 weeks while she was at home. We were really grateful for that. Everyone at the Hospice seemed to go above and beyond to make the end of her life as good as possible.

Counselling has been a big part of our connection with the Hospice. Ria had counselling for around a year on and off with Sue Spong and she developed a really close connection with Sue.

It enabled Ria to process what was happening to her as this was not something she was able to discuss with anyone else. Sue came to see Ria the day before she died and it meant a lot to Ria.

When Ria no longer had any treatment options in the UK, we set up a Go Fund me page to raise money so she could travel to Germany for specialist immune therapy. We raised an incredible £170,000 but it was unsuccessful. When Ria died we wanted the money to go to places that helped Ria and Saint Francis Hospice was one of those places.

We also wanted to raise awareness of hospice care. Saint Francis Hospice is not just a bed for you in the last few days of your life, it helps you to live better for however long you have and I think it is really important for people to know that.

The Hospice helped Ria so much when she was alive and after she died, the Hospice helped our family in bereavement and continues to do so.

I did not know that 85% of the Hospice’s care is in the community and I am a health care professional.

It was important to us as a family that Ria was honoured in the right way and our first thought was that Ria loved the gardens. She loved being outside. When we spoke to the Hospice and found out there was a gardening project on the wish list, we knew it was meant to be.

It’s wonderful to know more patients and families like us will benefit from the improvements to the garden which include an all-weather pagoda and wider paths so patients can be taken into the gardens in their beds if they wish to.

Knowing we are helping other people has given us a lot of purpose and a meaning to keep going. We have been able to channel our grief into something positive – It is hard to do but it has helped us through a difficult time.

Hospice Care Week – 10 to 14 October

Ria Melvin was a brave, talented and adventurous young woman who loved the outdoors. After she died in August 2021 aged just 25, her family funded a £20,000 gardening project at Saint Francis Hospice in her memory so more patients and families could enjoy the beautiful gardens all year round.

As part of Hospice Care Week (10-14th October) Kaz Melvin shares how her sister Ria came to be cared for by the Hospice after treatment for her brain tumour was unsuccessful and how the charity helped her to find peace and comfort in towards the end of her life…..

Ria really benefited from a lot of services at Saint Francis Hospice and it improved her quality of life. We did not notice at the time but in hindsight, it helped her so much on her journey.

She was not open to much hospice input when she was doing well. She was young and optimistic that things were not going to end up that way but in the last 6 months of her life, we had a lot of support from different services that had a big impact on us as a family.

Ria really enjoyed going into the Hospice and having honest conversations was a relief for her.

It was a space outside the home environment and it helped just being with people who understood what she was going through. She did not have to pretend everything was ok.

Ria had occupational therapy and physiotherapy. She loved the creative therapy sessions the most and painted a bird box which we still have hanging in our garden. She found it really relaxing and it calmed her mind.

Towards the end of Ria’s life, we also benefited from the professional medical and emotional support we received from Dr Corinna Midgley, the charity’s Medical Director. She came around to our house and had some really powerful conversations with Ria and us and it helped us to know what to expect.

Dr Corinna was always liaising with the community nursing team and it felt there was a wrap-around service that everyone was communicating with each other. It meant so much to know we had someone there to call upon if we ever needed to.

The Hospice was pivotal in enabling Ria to be cared for at home. They made it work by collaborating with the hospital and community nurses. It was what Ria wanted and it was what we wanted for her. The doctors and nurses taught us about medication and they did everything so Ria could die with dignity.

Ria was kept comfortable in her last 4-6 weeks while she was at home. We were really grateful for that. Everyone at the Hospice seemed to go above and beyond to make the end of her life as good as possible.

Counselling has been a big part of our connection with the Hospice. Ria had counselling for around a year on and off with Sue Spong and she developed a really close connection with Sue.

It enabled Ria to process what was happening to her as this was not something she was able to discuss with anyone else. Sue came to see Ria the day before she died and it meant a lot to Ria.

When Ria no longer had any treatment options in the UK, we set up a Go Fund me page to raise money so she could travel to Germany for specialist immune therapy. We raised an incredible £170,000 but it was unsuccessful. When Ria died we wanted the money to go to places that helped Ria and Saint Francis Hospice was one of those places.

We also wanted to raise awareness of hospice care. Saint Francis Hospice is not just a bed for you in the last few days of your life, it helps you to live better for however long you have and I think it is really important for people to know that.

The Hospice helped Ria so much when she was alive and after she died, the Hospice helped our family in bereavement and continues to do so.

I did not know that 85% of the Hospice’s care is in the community and I am a health care professional.

It was important to us as a family that Ria was honoured in the right way and our first thought was that Ria loved the gardens. She loved being outside. When we spoke to the Hospice and found out there was a gardening project on the wish list, we knew it was meant to be.

It’s wonderful to know more patients and families like us will benefit from the improvements to the garden which include an all-weather pagoda and wider paths so patients can be taken into the gardens in their beds if they wish to.

Knowing we are helping other people has given us a lot of purpose and a meaning to keep going. We have been able to channel our grief into something positive – It is hard to do but it has helped us through a difficult time.

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