“She’s become like one of our family”

When Bridget Smallman was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2017, John Taylor Hospice teams were on hand to step in and provide the additional support her and her family needed.

Mum-of-five Bridget, aged 80, explained: “I was really struggling with my breathing and with getting around and I’d had enough. I thought ‘how much longer have I got to go on like this?’ I wanted to stay at home though – that was very important to me. With the help of my family and the hospice I’ve been able to be where I want to be and I’m very comfortable.”

Only a few days after her diagnosis, Bridget was introduced to a member of the hospice’s Community Team, Clinical Nurse Specialist Deb Gregory.

“Deb helps in so many ways, like with my medication and if I’m in any pain,” said Bridget, who lives in Great Barr. “She arranged for a hospice occupational therapist to come and visit me and I’ve now got equipment at home that helps me get out of bed and walk around more easily. She also put us in touch with Angie at the hospice who helped me with finances as I was paying for things that I shouldn’t have been paying for.

“The support at home has been fantastic. We talk about my options and planning for the future and I’m able to make my own choices. It’s a comfort to know that Deb is on the other end of the phone if we need her. She’s become a friend and is like one of our family.”

Bridget Smallman and Debra Gregory

Bridget’s daughter also Pat feels that the support from John Taylor Hospice has benefitted the whole family. “We can talk things through with Deb,” said Pat. “We feel we can say anything to her, we can have a cry when we need to and we also have a laugh together.”

Clinical Nurse Specialist Debra Gregory said: “When we visit people at home we provide specialist advice and support and will put together a package of care that is ‘Taylor-made’. Our team can help with symptom management and pain control and we work closely with our John Taylor colleagues to offer services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, benefits advice and well-being support.

“The occupational therapy team provided Bridget with some equipment to help with everyday tasks. It’s wonderful to see how her independence has increased and how well she is doing. To know we’re helping Bridget to stay at home with her family is a very special feeling. It is a privilege to spend time with Bridget and her family and be a supporting part of their journey.”

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What our patients think

“I’d have really struggled without them”

“They’ve been ever so good to me and that’s why I wanted to fundraise and do something to help just like they’ve helped me.”

Philomena Sharpe

“The impact they had will never be forgotten”

“The community nurses were so helpful and they’re lovely people. They put my mind at rest and it’s such a comfort to know you’re not on your own.”

Jackie Day

“An angel sent into my life”

“I can’t thank Angie (patient and family support worker) enough for everything she’s done for us. She’s so reliable and professional – a wonderful person. She took away all these worries and was there for me in my time of need.”

Patricia Smith-Evans

“I’ve really enjoyed it”

“The FAB Programme has helped me to get fitter and my walking is better. Everyone is really nice at the hospice, they’re friendly and they’re good company. I’d recommend it to anyone who is in a similar situation to me.”

Don Bell

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