Arthur Crawford has been a day service patient since August, after he was referred to the hospice by a community nurse.
“Before I came to the hospice for the first time I thought it was a hospital for people who are in their last stages of life,” says the 70-year-old from East Renfrewshire.
“I didn’t know there was another side to it, and that’s the side I’m involved in at the moment.
“I have been pleasantly surprised, I thoroughly enjoy the whole experience. I meet up with all the other patients, we have a chat about how it’s been from one week to another, and then we go and have our arts class or sometimes we have a reiki treatment. There’s usually some form of entertainment in the afternoon.
“It’s enjoyable and I look forward to it. I wouldn’t miss it.”
Like so many other day services patients, Arthur has no experience of painting or drawing but particularly enjoys the hours he spends in the art room at Carlton Place.
“I like the atmosphere in the art class, it’s amazingly relaxing. And the artists are so helpful. I’m no artist but I’ve been having a go at pencil drawings and I’ve received a lot of help.”
The friendships that are bonded every Wednesday when Arthur comes to day services are hugely important.
“There’s a great camaraderie among everyone and that’s what you look forward to. If it was possible for me to come in other days of the week, I would, but it’s busy and you’re lucky to get in,” he says.
“We talk about what we’ve done that week, where we’ve been, who’s not been so good and you try and cheer them up a bit. We share our experiences.
“It’s difficult to appreciate what it’s like for someone with a diagnosis if you don’t actually experience it first-hand. In my experience it was all very sudden, I was really ill for about a month – I couldn’t eat or drink – and I have to say I thought I was at the end. With all the help of the team, they pull you through. I have more time left.”
Days services patients have access to doctor and nurse-led clinics, there is always someone to turn to for help and advice.
“When you’re told that your care will be purely palliative from now on, that shocks you at first. It doesn’t mean to say it’s the end there and then, you can still go on with a reasonably good quality of life. From that point of view, these people make that easy for you and the help is there if you require it,” he adds.
Arthur says the new hospice at Bellahouston Park will make a massive difference to the care of patients and families.
“We’re very limited at Carlton Place with outdoor space, we tend to stay inside as all the activities are indoors. At Bellahouston I think we’ll be more encouraged to go outside if the weather is conducive,” he says.
If Arthur had to sum up the hospice in one word, what would it be?
“Because you gain so much from it, you couldn’t justify it with one word – it’s comforting, it’s reassuring, it’s so many things,” he says.