Donna’s Story

“People say, ‘I feel like I’ve lost the past two years of my life,’ – but for a lot of my patients the last two years were the last years of their life.”

Hi there, my name is Donna Bruce and I’m the Outpatient and Community Team Manager at St Andrew’s Hospice.

The situation here in the Hospice changes every week. Each Monday I check to see how many membersof staff I have and what the guidance says. One
week we’re fully open but the next week we have to tell patients that we can’t see them at home – and everything moves back online again!

It’s been so difficult. One Monday, last November I came into work and was the only member of staff in the Outpatient Department – everyone else was off sick or caring for family. I didn’t want to let patients down, so I carried on with the clinics on my own. Of course, it was exhausting and stressful, but here at St Andrew’s Hospice we never turn away a patient in need.

Sometimes I am blown away by the dignity and strength of my patients. To be honest they are the best teachers I’ve ever had.

One patient I remember especially fondly was Douglas*. Douglas came to the Hospice when he was 92. Unfortunately lockdown had hit and visitors were
restricted. But we gave him an iPad and taught him how to use it. He loved it! He’d video call his family every day, especially the grandchildren.

Douglas sadly passed away a few months ago and at his funeral I was so moved when his family and friends told me how much those daily video calls meant to them, how they loved to see him enjoying new things even during his final weeks.

That’s what makes all the hard work worth it – knowing we are giving people like Douglas a safe place to experience a final dignified, loving – even joyful time.

Donna Bruce
Outpatient & Community Team Manager
*Patient’s name has been changed for anonymity.

We need your help to support people like Douglas* across Lanarkshire. Click here to donate to our Future Care Appeal.