Stay alters view of Mercy Hospice role
While some have the misconception that Mercy Hospice is a place where sick people go to die, terminally ill patient Jo Walsh now sees it as a haven.
The Mt Albert resident was told 18-months ago that the breast cancer she had beaten in 2006 had returned and spread throughout her body.
Mrs Walsh had been unaware of the hospice until a visiting friend saw that she wasn’t doing so well and suggested she needed some help.
‘‘Initially I said no. I knew I was terminally ill. I knew there was no cure, but the term ‘hospice’ at the time meant to me The End,’’ the mother-of-two says.
For three months she fought against going, meanwhile hospice nurses would visit her to check up and help with her medications.
‘‘The hospice nurses never gave up. One of them convinced me to go into Opening Doors [a day stay programme] and one of the nurses suggested I look upstairs.
‘‘There was something about it that was so peaceful. When I was shown into one of the rooms there was no way I could say it wasn’t for me. It just seemed to scream out, ‘ come here – you need it’.’’
There are three categories of admission into the In-Patient Unit at Mercy Hospice ranging from a few days of respite care through to care for the final days of life.
Mrs Walsh was admitted into the second category where someone could help monitor her medication, as well as treating her spiritual, emotional and physical needs to make her life more tolerable.
‘‘When they say the are the ‘cloak of mercy’, that’s what it felt like,’’ she says ‘‘I could just feel this sense of peace for the first time in my recent illness.’’
After a stay of 14 days Mrs Walsh returned home to her family, but her time at Mercy Hospice is firmly imprinted on her mind.
‘‘You come out nearly yourself again, and that’s what you want,’’ Mrs Walsh says.
‘‘Even though you know your not going to get better, and sometimes that’s frightening, it’s good to know there is a place to go.’’
A spokesman for the hospice says fear is a common feeling when patients and families are first admitted to Mercy Hospice in Ponsonby.
‘‘One of the myths we are hoping to break is we aren’t just a building people come to die.’’
The hospice is holding it’s annual awareness campaign this week.
‘‘We are hoping to raise $200,000 to help cover the annual patient services costs involved with running our 13-bed inpatient unit.’’
Donations will help resource the IPU with vital medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
They will also help pay for other aspects of treatment such as X-rays, ambulance transportation and the rental of specialist palliative care equipment.
Cloak of mercy: Jo Walsh is terminally ill with cancer and says staying at Mercy Hospice’s In Patient Unit offered some peaces.