Hospice delivers flowers and cake to patients shielding during pandemic

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.

John Mozley, 74, is amongst fifty terminally ill patients who have been receiving flowers as part of their ongoing weekly support from Treetops Hospice Care.

The Derbyshire hospice had to close its doors to patients at the start of the Coronavirus lockdown but have continued to provide weekly ‘Cake and Care’ packages and regular wellbeing calls to their patients throughout the pandemic.

The packages include practical food items, treats, activities and on some weeks, a posy of flowers put together by a local florist.

A close bond with the hospice

John had been going to Treetops for a couple of years until lockdown. “I miss it terribly” he says. “The people, the company, everything! I’d known about Treetops for a long time and then heard about it again when I was having chemotherapy.

“We can’t go to the hospice anymore but they phone us up to see how we are and I look forward to the care parcels coming. I look forward to everything to do with Treetops.”

John and his wife Mary, who have three daughters, celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary during the lockdown.  Mary explains more about his condition: “John was diagnosed with bowel cancer twelve years ago. He was given the okay for years but then in 2015, he was sent for an X-ray because he had a wheeze and a cough – he had lung cancer.

“It was very slow growing. Then in February he started limping and they sent him for an X-ray thinking it was arthritis and he has bone cancer. He’s been very positive and very well until the last few weeks.

“We aren’t going to hospital anymore. We’ve tried but especially now it’s gone into his bones, we’re not having any more treatment, we’re just having palliative care.”

Things to look forward to 

Mary is also grateful for the support from the hospice. “They’re so kind and John just loved it. He looked forward to going and it gave me a rest and a chance to do other things. He loves to chat and he could just go there and be himself.

“We both had complementary therapy when we first started going, we went to the drop-in Wellbeing Cafe and I used to attend the carers’ meetings.

“Now we get regular phone calls to check if we’re okay and they’ve brought bags with goodies and treats, and information leaflets on getting food if that’s been difficult.

“On VE Day we had a cream tea and when it was Wimbledon we had some Pimms. We’ve had books and quizzes – just things to cheer you up and look forward to. It means we still have the link with Treetops.

“It’s been nice to have people there at the end of the phone if we need them. Things crop up when you’re not very well and it’s been a good thing to have. John misses it terribly.”

Adapting care to patients’ needs

Treetops Senior Staff Nurse, Ali Jordan, explained that ‘Cake and Care’ is a lifeline for Treetops patients. “Most of our patients are shielding at home due to their terminal illness. They are still unwell, very vulnerable and want to protect themselves as much as possible.”

The hospice has adapted its services accordingly.  “We’re responding to patients’ needs and bringing the care and support to them at home. We’re going to continue this for as long as our patients need us.

“As well as ‘Cake and Care’, some of our Wellbeing Services are running as online, virtual sessions and we’ve re-opened our Wellbeing Café, though people must pre-book rather than drop in. This is the first time we’ve delivered flowers to our patients and we know they’ll brighten up their day and bring a smile to their faces.”

More information

Did you know it takes 40,000 dedicated staff, 125,000 volunteers and 1.1 million home visits a year to provide end of life care? This week it’s Hospice Care Week, and to mark the week we’re sharing stories that highlight what it takes to give people and their families the care they need and deserve at the end of life, no matter who they are, where they are or why they are ill.