85-year-old Michael recently spent six weeks as a resident of Mountbatten's inpatient unit in West End. He was first diagnosed with oesophageal Cancer in 2020, which was treated, but later spread to his brain, liver, and kidneys. 

His stay on the inpatient unit came after a few bad turns, where he struggled to manage at home. Now, the close care and support have helped him get back to himself. 

“When I came in here, I felt relief. I was glad that any pressure was taken off my wife and daughter at home - I always worried about them in the back of my mind and what would happen if I fell or hurt myself. I feel more relaxed now.

“I feel so well looked after and cared for all the time here. All the staff say nothing is too much trouble.”

In 2022/23, 43% of people admitted to our inpatient unit returned home (including to nursing and residential homes). With support from our Care at Home team, many choose to stay at home until they die. But decisions are made based on what is right for every person and their wishes, and Michael’s preference is the close, 24/7 care of our inpatient unit. 

Michael's day in the life. 

Michael sitting in bed, holding a book.Usually, Michael has the same breakfast of jam and toast, but he occasionally takes advantage of the catering team’s range of options.

“One morning, I woke up and fancied a poached egg. I haven’t eaten or wanted eggs in years since my first surgery on my oesophagus. But they made me one - my first egg in nearly four years - and it was perfect.”

After breakfast, he has a pile of books to get through and usually puts his headphones in to catch some classic FM. As well as the support from nurses, carers, and doctors, our volunteers bring around the tea trolley with drinks and snacks.

“I sometimes feel a bit helpless because of what I can’t do. It can be hard to accept that and to think about my illness.

“But being here helps me with that because everyone – from the cleaners to the doctors - is so understanding and kind. Anything you need, they’ll support you.

“Losing myself in a book or some music makes me feel better, too. It’s easy to do that here; it’s more peaceful than a hospital.”

Michael is often surrounded by family - his wife and daughter come in every afternoon, and other members of his family visit when they can.

“People can visit any time of day and night. My grandson lives nearby and often pops in on his way to work and then on his way home in the evening.

“The hospice is very laid back. My family are treated not like visitors but like friends.”

Patients and their visitors can enjoy the café, Hazel Centre, garden, and patio areas. Michael recently requested to be moved to a bed next to a window, and now he enjoys seeing the two robins that visit the patio every day.

Hot and cold meals are available for lunch and dinner, and he’s always offered his favourite beer alongside it. 

“The food is really nice – it’s not like hospital food at all. On Sunday, we had roast beef. It was presented nicely, and it was so tender. And the desserts are out of this world – you can have one at lunch and dinner, and then the tea trolley comes around again with cake. They love to feed you!”

The inpatient unit is made up of bays and individual side rooms, and Michael’s new bay comes with a roommate – Peter – whom he enjoys talking to. If he isn’t with family in the evenings, him and Peter often watch the rugby together on their TVs. 

Overnight, there is care and support for Michael as often as he needs it, whether it’s reducing pain, helping him move, or just having a chat about what’s on his mind.

“The care I get here is amazing; you can’t praise the nurses and carers enough. Just knowing they’re here makes me feel safe.”

It costs £10.5 million each year to provide our inpatient unit, community services, rehabilitation, day services and bereavement support to anyone who needs it.

Your support means people like Michael across Southampton and large parts of Hampshire can access our 24/7 care. Thank you. 

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