Nicholas praises the ‘unsung heroes’ at St Catherine’s Hospice who helped get his life back on track
A Preston man who suffers with painful swelling in his legs has told how the ‘unsung heroes’ at St Catherine’s Hospice have helped get his life back on track throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
Civil servant Nicholas Riley was diagnosed with lymphoedema last year, caused by varicose veins, and wasn’t sure where to turn or what the future would hold.
“My legs were getting bigger and bigger and I didn’t know how to cope with it,” he said. “I went to the doctors and they referred me to St Catherine’s. Lymphoedema can’t be cured but it can be managed, and the hospice’s nurses have really helped me to take ownership of my condition and treatments, to live with it more comfortably. I’ve never known such level of personalised care and support before. They’ve been amazing.”
The team of nurses based at the Woodside Clinic in the grounds of the Lostock Hall hospice provides specialist treatments for cancer and non-cancer related lymphoedema; a build-up of lymph fluid that can affect any part of the body.
Drainage, bandaging, laser therapy and compression pumps are all used, and patients are also advised about how to better manage the swelling at home, through techniques such as exercises and massage to ease discomfort and boost independence.
Nicholas, from Ashton, explained: “I use stockings which mimic the muscles in my legs and help the fluid to flow properly to reduce the swelling. My nurse Julie also recommended some moisturising cream for my skin. She thinks of everything – making sure my chemist has my stocking prescription in on time and really explaining everything to me. She’s so thorough and conscientious, and her support has really improved my quality of life.
“Before I came to St Catherine’s I was really worried and didn’t know how to deal with it all. Lymphoedema can really restrict your life, but Julie has guided me through every step of the way and has given me reassurance and confidence to get my life back on track.”
The 48-year-old added: “You think of hospices as being about the end of life and people’s final days – I didn’t even know this service existed. But they help in so many different ways and they’re with you throughout your journey.
“I’ve been especially blown away by the support St Catherine’s has been able to give me throughout the Covid pandemic. They are the unsung heroes. They have been there for me constantly, at the Woodside Clinic and at the end of the phone. They have really risen to the challenge and found new ways forward to continue helping people during this time.
“The charity relies on the public’s support and you know that your donations are going to a worthy cause, which is really making a difference and helping local people. Everyone should be proud to have St Catherine’s there for when they need it.”
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