“I mentioned that I’d love to do one last walk in the Lake District, and the hospice nurses arranged for me to have a virtual reality experience. Anything you mention, they try their very best to do something nice for you.”
Tony Dilworth, a dad-of-five and granddad-of-six, had been in hospital before coming to St Catherine’s Hospice, and says the charity is helping to improve his mental health and wellbeing, as well as physical symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis.
“You come in here thinking ‘I can’t do this anymore and I can’t do that’, but they do everything they can to make your time here special and memorable,” Tony says.
“The nurses asked if I have any hobbies so I said that I’ve always enjoyed sports, particularly football, and I like walking in the lakes. The next thing I knew, the IT manager came in with a VR headset and set up some videos of walks in the lakes for me.”
He adds: “My wife Ingrid brought our dog in to see me recently. It’s little touches like that which make a difference. She can see that I’m happy, and the family can visit any time they like. St Catherine’s is definitely the right place for me at this moment in time.”
Tony, from Penwortham, is well known on the Preston football scene, having been involved in coaching and managing as well as playing, most recently at Ingol AFC and the Lancashire Sunday Football League.
“I’d been to The Mill café in the St Catherine’s grounds before, but I’d never been to the hospice itself,” Tony explains. “When I was in hospital I asked if St Catherine’s could be a short-term option for me, for pain and symptom management.
“And when I arrived, I felt at ease almost immediately. It’s so peaceful and everyone is so welcoming and friendly; it’s a really nice environment to be in. I can’t praise it highly enough.
“The staff are so positive and are always trying to find solutions. The doctors sit and really listen to you; they give you information and then ask your opinion about your treatment and care, and they keep checking in to make sure you’re doing ok. They’ve got that time to spend with you, which I’m grateful for.
“There’s also a Support Team who call in and offer help. I’ve spoken to a counsellor and it’s really helped to talk things through with someone. It’s like nothing is too much trouble.”
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