Going the extra mile to make a patient or their loved ones smile is second nature to our incredible team, and we’d like to tell you about a few occasions when we’ve made dreams come true.
Visitors to St Ann’s often comment on how they were surprised by the happy and uplifting atmosphere in the hospice, and this is something we’re really proud of. If we can help make someone smile during a very difficult time in their life, then we know we’re doing our job well.
We love nothing more than helping our patients and their loved ones celebrate a special occasion. We’ve held many birthday parties, and even helped one lady celebrate her 101st birthday with a special tea party, complete with tea, cake, flowers – and a gin and tonic for the birthday girl.
We also held a special hen party on the ward for one lady who was too unwell to attend her daughter’s hen party elsewhere.
Patients are often worried or upset about missing out on big occasions in the lives of their loved ones. They want to be a part of it but perhaps they’re too ill to leave the hospice. We love being able to help when we can - and of course we’re always happy to provide cake! Sarah McDonnell, Ward Manager at Little Hulton
Our Chaplain, Peter O’Brien, has conducted several wedding ceremonies in the hospice building, as well as in people’s homes when the patient was receiving care at home. We’ve also thrown many wedding receptions in our Day Care lounges – complete with cake, fizz and decorations. We were contacted by a lady who married her husband in the hospice, as his mum
was an inpatient here and was too unwell to leave to attend a ceremony elsewhere. That was back in 1976, and we believe it was the first wedding we held. We’ve been making dreams come true for 40 years!
Getting married is often the most important day in a couple’s life, but it can also be something which people put off for various reasons. When someone becomes very ill, marriage can become a priority and when that’s happened with some of our patients, we’ve been able to help out. It’s a real honour to be a part of that and know that we’ve contributed to the happiness of two people who love each other at what might otherwise be a sad time in their lives. Peter O’Brien, Chaplain
Sometimes, we know our patients would love nothing more than to get out of their home, or the hospice, and do something they’ve not been able to do for a while, or something they’ve always dreamed of but have never been able to do. If we can make that happen, we will. One patient told us that he’d love to go fishing one more time, so Gary Willans, Maintenance Officer and Ambulance Driver, took him for a fishing trip. He’s also taken a patient and their wife to Blackpool for the day, fulfilling another wish.
It’s great to play a part in making people happy in this way. I love getting to know people and what makes them tick and it’s always good fun to do something a bit different to make someone smile. Gary Willans, Maintenance Officer and Ambulance Driver
Raising smiles when it matters most
At St Ann’s, we believe in treating each patient as the individual that they are. We also believe in looking after the whole person, not just treating symptoms. Going the extra mile to make a patient or their loved ones smile is second nature to our incredible team, and we’d like to tell you about a few occasions when we’ve made dreams come true.
Our team organised a VIP day out at a Classic Car Rally for one Day Care patient, including a special ride in a Jaguar XJS, fulfilling one of his ambitions. And recently, our team at Little Hulton took a patient to have a tattoo, something she really wanted to do.
We love to welcome visitors to the hospice, and we know how much it can lift the spirits of our patients. We had a visit from football legend Mike Summerbee, who brought with him the
Premier League trophy and the Capital One cup. The visit was arranged for a Day Care patient who is a lifelong Manchester City supporter.
It creates a real buzz around the hospice when we have unusual or high profile visitors, and we love to see the big smiles on the faces of our patients after they’ve met them - some of our patients talked about Mike Summerbee for weeks afterwards! Amanda Connors, Day Therapy Sister at Heald Green
TV star Chris Bisson came to visit to help a patient celebrate her birthday, and members of Birmingham Royal Ballet came to Day Care to do a workshop with our patients.
And it’s not always humans who can make our patients smile. We often have visits from Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs, and carers can bring pets into the hospice (with prior agreement) so that patients can spend time with them. We even had a visit from Rusty the donkey, who came from the Donkey Sanctuary Manchester to visit our patients.
Every day I’m truly humbled to see the work of our amazing teams and the lengths they will go to, to make our patients’ wishes come true. As well as this, they also provide excellent care day to day to ensure that our patients are comfortable and their families and friends are looked after, too. It makes me so proud to be a part of the St Ann’s team. Rachel McMillan,, Deputy Chief Executive