Helping people cope after life-limiting diagnosis

MAKING MEMORIES Marion and her family

The Hospice in the Weald is best known for supporting end-of-life patients, but there is help available for people long before that stage, says Steph Hall, head of Living Well at the charity…


Most will know hospice care as supporting terminally ill patients in their final weeks, but at Hospice in the Weald a host of free support is also available for people at an earlier stage of diagnosis, so they can enjoy and celebrate life for as long as possible.

Much of this is done through the Hospice’s Living Well Centre, based at the Hospice in Maidstone Road, Pembury.

Adjusting to a terminal diagnosis is hard. Sometimes people retreat into themselves and may stop ‘living’. At Living Well, we invite people to relax, have fun, socialise and adjust to their diagnosis as they work towards their own goals.

There are many groups, activities and therapies to get involved with. Patients are encouraged to choose how they’d like to spend their time over a goal focused 12-week programme.

Programmes are personalised around what is important to people; they may choose to come to art classes, memory-making workshops or have physiotherapy to help improve their mobility so they can enjoy life for as long as possible. It’s also fantastic to see people make friends and support each other.

We want everyone in the community to know there’s lots of support here – and all free of charge – for people who are newly diagnosed with a terminal illness, as well as for those who are nearing their final weeks, and those important to them.

Being told her cancer had returned and was inoperable was a big shock for Marion, 63, of Horsmonden.


“I do try to live in hope and be positive. I have bad days but made the decision to enjoy everything for as long as possible and the Hospice is helping me to do that.


However, with the support of husband Ian, children and grandchildren, Marion is enjoying life, making memories and looking forward to a family Christmas.

She said: “I’ve been going to Living Well. It’s calm, happy – everyone is lovely. I’ve had massages and made clay casts with the family of us all holding hands. I thought it would be a nice, personal thing for the children and grandchildren. I’d never really thought about making memories like this before going to the Hospice.

“Counselling at the Hospice has helped. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders to know Ian and the children have also got someone to talk to. I’ve realised, since going to the Hospice, that there’s something for them, that they aren’t going to be left on their own.

“I’m looking forward to Christmas. The grandchildren write letters to Santa, it’s all part of the magic. My ideal Christmas would be to have all the family together.

“I’m so grateful for the support others have given the Hospice which enables me to access all these things. I’m supporting the Hospice’s Appeal this Christmas and hope others will too, so many more families like mine can enjoy Christmas together.”

Hospice in the Weald needs to raise £8million each year to fund its vital work.

Find out more about the Hospice and its Christmas Appeal at:

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