Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions, and heart and respiratory conditions.
The charity’s Hospice at Home nurses have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic providing overnight and daytime nursing care for patients at the very end of life, who’ve chosen to die at home.
For many of our patients and their families, this will be their last Christmas together
Treetops Chief Executive, Julie Heath explained why Treetops needs the community’s support now more than ever:
“We know that Christmas is such an important and special time for many people and families and this year, with the challenges we have all faced with the Coronavirus pandemic, even more so.
“For many of our patients and their families however, this will be their last Christmas together.
“Our nurses will be with patients on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, helping to make their final few hours with their loved ones as peaceful and comfortable as possible.”
We want to be there for the community when they need us the most
Treetops has continued to provide its services during the pandemic, adapting to ensure care is still available for vulnerable patients. But the hospice is facing future loss of income. Julie continues:
“During the national lockdowns, we have had to close all our retail shops and have had to cancel several major fundraising events, which has had a big impact on us financially.
“We want to be there for the community when they need us the most and we’re asking the community to support us with donations to our special Christmas Appeal.
“It costs just £12 to provide an hour of Hospice at Home nursing care or £108 for an overnight shift, so that carers can get a good night’s sleep knowing their loved one is being cared for.”
Nicola Ward is one of the forty-seven Hospice at Home nurses and health care assistants at Treetops. During the pandemic, she wrote a special poem ‘The Door’, reflecting on her experience of just how vital the Hospice at Home service is for families:
“We’ve never met before,
Your family are tired and full of fear as I walk through your door.
The door that I knock at has been the gateway to your life,
The doorway is the threshold you carried your wife.
You welcomed your children within the walls of your home,
As they grew and flew the nest, they stayed connected by phone.
The test of true love runs ever so deep,
As your family start to gather, they sit round you and weep.
They talk of the good times, they talk of the bad,
They manage a giggle but deep down they are sad.
As your condition starts to change and your world starts to dim,
You are fighting your hardest but it’s a battle you can’t win.
I comfort your wife as she holds you so tight,
She loves you so much but wants you to give up your fight.
She can’t bear to be without you nor see you go on,
The grief turns to anger, why did they get it so wrong?
You follow your wife’s wishes and slip away with a sigh,
Leaving your wife so alone, she wasn’t ready for you to die.
While I assured your family you did your very best,
They fully understand you needed to rest.
As your soul flies high and breaks away from the pain,
Your family are crushed, and life will never be the same.
I comfort your family but can’t stop the tears,
Why should I be able? They loved you for years.
I prepare your body, it’s frail and cold,
The home it provided you vacant, and sold.
I say my goodbyes, and leave your family with each other,
They find comfort in knowing you are reunited with your mother.
As I make my way home, a tear starts to fall,
But could do no more, I gave you my all.
We’ve never met before.
But I will never forget the night I walked through your door.
Rest in peace. x “
Alongside their Christmas Appeal, the community can also show support for the hospice by purchasing Treetops Christmas cards (on sale online or in Treetops charity shops) or by booking in with their Treecycling scheme to have their real Christmas tree disposed of in the New Year.