A chance remark made by Pat Reedman, a patient under ellenor’s Wellbeing services, landed her in hot soapy water - quite literally! She happened to mention she hadn’t had a bath in 12 years and before she knew it, she was being offered a soak in the hospice’s bathtub in Northfleet.
The Dartford resident, who has been coming to ellenor as an outpatient since 2018, had only been able to take a shower since moving into sheltered accommodation in the town. She suffers from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) so finds it very challenging to walk very far or exert herself. Just taking a few steps can leave her fighting for breath.
She said: “I didn’t realise how much I would miss having a bath until I no longer had one. When I told my friends at ellenor’s Green Shoots gardening group that I hadn’t had a bath for 12 years everyone laughed and moved away. We were making lavender bags at the time, to hang in our wardrobes or add to our bath water.
“When I got home later, I had a phone call from Terri, who is a family support worker at ellenor. She was asking if I would like a bath at the hospice and of course I said yes!”
Hospice staff helped to hoist Pat into the warm water and then she was left to her own devices with her favourite bubble bath and a Green Shoots lavender sachet.
She said: “I decided not to have the jacuzzi bubbles, but the bath has coloured lights which were so pretty when they were dimmed. The staff were lovely and kept a towel over me while they were lifting me in and out to protect my dignity. I was in there for a good 20 minutes and I enjoyed every minute of it. The lavender bag we made was very nice too – you could really smell it.”
Pat was referred to ellenor by a warden at the sheltered housing scheme where she lives. She comes into The Manor Hotel in Gravesend every Wednesday, transported by ellenor’s volunteer drivers. The charity’s Wellbeing team has moved to the hotel while a state-of-the-art new Wellbeing and Therapeutic Wing is built as part of a major revamp at the hospice in Northfleet.
ellenor prides itself on offering holistic care to its patients and their families, with a strong emphasis on wellbeing. The charity offers a variety of groups to patients and their families, and the bereaved, and many of them are also open to members of the local community. These groups include seated exercise, music and gardening. The Wellbeing team also provide counselling services and therapies including reiki and aromatherapy massage.
Pat said: “When I come in on a Wednesday we do music in the morning and often have some really good singers and musicians coming in. I can’t sing myself anymore because of my COPD but I like listening. I just enjoy the company and the activities -- this is my release and respite.