Harry is a 77-year-old retired lawyer with very advanced Parkinson’s disease which affects all aspects of his life. He has found the support of the Michael Sobell Hospice team absolutely invaluable and wants to dispel the myth that Hospices are only about cancer.
Harry has benefitted from Day Therapy in the past and, this year, has had two separate admissions to help with his mobility (working with the physio team) and a medication and symptom review (carried out by the doctors and nurses). But one of the main benefits of his stay at Michael Sobell Hospice is that it lifts his spirit and gives his wife a break from 24/7 care. Each admission has helped Harry to feel better and cope better with life.
Over 40% of patients admitted to the Hospice this year have been able to get home again – another surprise for many who think hospice care is only about the final days of life.
Harry talked to us about the gratitude he feels the Hospice. Asked about what has made the difference, he said it is the attention to mind, body and spirit!
One intervention that really lifted Harry’s mood was his trips around the world with our Virtual Reality headset. Dr Poppy Mackay, our GP Registrar, is studying this technique and is confidently taking people on very special journeys. We are beating the Covid-19 travel restrictions without leaving the building!
Harry went down memory lane to Ireland and Nigeria and to places on his bucket list. In his words “One of the doctors offered me a journey to places that meant a lot to me. I found myself whisked away to Kaduna in northern Nigeria where I worked for five years. It was marvellous to see the rugby club again! I was then transported to Cork to see my parents’ house. It was all very emotional. Finally, I went to Petra in Jordan where I was immersed in the magnificent ‘Rose Red’ city’.
It was such a pleasure for the team to hear stories of Harry’s travels and what life was like living in rural Nigeria so many years ago.
We are able to pre-set locations at a patient’s request and navigate their travels together. Virtual Reality is more than just viewing an image; it’s about triggering memories and fulfilling dreams – often a source of great spiritual comfort.
We’d love to open the Virtual Reality world up to lots more patients in the future by buying further headsets. You can purchase one from our Amazon Wish List here or make a donation to make this dream a (virtual) reality.