Melanie Lockett has worked at St Peter & St James Hospice as the Head of Wellbeing Services for nine years. Here she explains what hospice care means to her and why the services are so important.
‘I started my career as a psychotherapist; I supported people with cancer in London hospitals and hospices. My mother died from bowel cancer and I myself have had breast cancer, so I understand the value of expert, compassionate, personalised care.
‘I was thrilled to be offered this opportunity at St Peter & St James! I’m here to keep our wellbeing services running smoothly and to lead on improvements and make future plans. I have a small team of specialist staff and over one hundred amazing wellbeing volunteers, including therapists and cafe assistants, who help us to provide patients and their families the best possible support at a difficult time in their lives.
‘Our hospice Wellbeing services are focussed on helping people to make the most of their lives. The majority of the services are open to both patients and those close to them. Counselling helps people become more aware, feel more in control of their choices and perhaps find a level of acceptance. Complementary therapy is relaxing and can relieve muscle pain or ensure better sleep. The welfare service assists with practical aspects of being unwell, helping families with their finances and ensuring they’re receiving all available support. The fantastic courses and classes on offer at our Beacon View Wellbeing Centre ease feelings of isolation and can bring a sense of purpose and excitement back. Our befriending service provides carers with someone to talk to or the opportunity to have time to themselves knowing that their loved one is safe and spiritual care supports people in reflecting on life experiences and exploring important questions that may arise. Our bereavement groups, such as the ‘walk and talk’, create a warm, understanding space in which people can talk openly to others who understand exactly what they’re going through.
‘I’m so proud of the services and almost always see a change in those who access them. People often tell us that they feel safer, happier and more in control, that we have reminded them who they are and helped them to live life to the full. That’s the key word for me: live. Our Wellbeing services help people to live well.