Hospiscare has launched a Christmas Appeal to raise money to bring the comfort of home-cooked food to terminally ill patients at the end of their lives.
As the local hospice charity for Exeter, Mid and East Devon, we are appealing to our community to help give our patients, and their families, an unforgettable Christmas.
Our specialist charity has a team of expert kitchen staff who work closely with our nurses and doctors to tailor every meal to patients’ needs. Lil Badcott, Chef Manager at Hospiscare, explains: “Often our patients can find it really difficult to swallow. This can be a symptom for people with oral cancers, motor neurone disease and brain tumours. It can bring about really unpleasant incidents like choking or give the sensation that food is stuck in your chest.”
This was the case for Emma, who was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in 2019. As Emma’s illness progressed, she began to have difficulty with breathing and swallowing and she was rushed to A&E after choking on food. The doctors cleared her airway but on her return home, Emma and her husband Andrew were terrified the same thing would happen again.
Emma’s illness became so severe that she was referred to Hospiscare. When Emma was too scared to eat, Chef Lil took direct responsibility for all her meals. Gradually, with Lil’s support, Emma began to try specially prepared foods and was able to enjoy meals again.
Emma’s husband, Andrew, explains:
“Food was always important to our life together. At Hospiscare, I visited Emma every evening and the kitchen staff were kind enough to prepare a meal for me as well so we could eat together. It was strange, but we felt like a normal couple having dinner together – surrounded by warm friendship.”
When Emma was discharged from the hospital, she and Andrew thought she had just days to live. But with the support of Lil and the clinical team at Hospiscare, Emma and Andrew were able to spend another seven weeks safely enjoying dinner together.
After cooking meals for patients at the charity for over twelve years, Lil knows the impact the right food can have on patients’ final days: “No one should have to spend the little, precious time they have left being afraid to eat, especially during the festive season which centres around people being together for food and drink.”
Andrew Randall, CEO at Hospiscare, said: “As a local charity, Hospiscare relies heavily on the generous support of local people to fund our vital service. Our aim is to make every single day the best it can be for our patients and their families – at Christmas and all year round. By making a donation to our appeal this Christmas, your money will help to ensure our patients’ last meals bring comfort and joy in their final days.”
To help bring the comfort of food to patients like Emma, please click here to donate.