My recent visits to both County and Royal Stoke Hospitals have resulted in some new experiences.
At County some of my time has been spent promoting the new ‘Home from Home Room’ which I have written about in earlier Hospital Notes. Interest in this room is increasing and one week I was involved in collecting 2 patients for ‘an outing within the hospital’. They both enjoyed their time in the room where they were able to engage in something different from their normal ward routine. After an hour or so they were returned to the ward in time for lunch.
At Royal Stoke I was asked, for the first time, to sit with a person who was dying as no-one else was available and there were no relatives. This was very different for me, the object not being to make conversation, but just to be there for someone as their life neared its end. I sat and prayed quietly and when my presence was sensed a hand stretched and took hold of mine. This was quite moving and when the time came for me to leave it was a difficult thing to do.
Another somewhat unreal experience was when arriving at a ward I was told that the patient that I had come to see had died earlier that day.
I am surprised that even with my very limited time involvement I am still gaining new insights; the breadth of what medical staff must encounter is quite hard to imagine.