Three women have paid tribute to a hospice and its services.
Julia Wilkinson, Audrey Harvey and Jean Wood all attend the day hospice service at the Hartlepool & District Hospice.
They describe their visits as “hospice happiness”.
The day hospice service is held each Wednesday. Audrey and Jean have also had spells in the hospice’s inpatient unit.
Audrey said: “I feel comfortable talking about anything here; the nurses are always interested in us, what we’ve been up to and how we are feeling.
“This is not just medical support, the other patients and the nurses are like family, it is the high spot of my week and I always go home with my spirits lifted.”
Julia said: “Although my illness is horrible I am glad I haven’t missed the chance to come to day hospice, it is a big part of my life and something that I look forward to each week.
“It gives my Billy a break and he has peace of mind knowing that I’m happy here.
“It makes life much easier at home; we have something to talk about other than my illness and my spirits are lifted for longer than just the day.”
Jean told how, before she started coming to day hospice, she “didn’t want to go out anywhere”.
“This has raised my confidence and I feel like I’ve started to live again, I’m back out in the world,” Jean said.
“People shouldn’t be anxious about coming here, it is a happy place. We are like a team; patients, volunteers and staff together.”
Senior healthcare assistant Jan Dunn said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to care for our patients. I spent my birthday at work this year and couldn’t think of a better way to spend my day. We had birthday cake and I was given cards, it was perfect.”
Nurse practitioner Mandy McKay said: “Day hospice is a short term service offered to patients who are able to access to the hospice’s multi-disciplinary team for specialist medical support and advice while they are here.
“Alongside this medical support, day hospice is a great way for patients to get out and about and meet people; they often become firm friends and continue to meet up once their time at day hospice is finished.”