What’s it like at Christmas in our hospices?

Tina Hill and Rosie McCann, staff at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast, enjoy mince pies with patient Billy Caulder.
Tina Hill and Rosie McCann, staff at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast, enjoy mince pies with patient Billy Caulder.

Christmas is a time for families to come together across the UK, and it’s no different in Marie Curie Hospices. Volunteers and staff at each of our nine hospices are there throughout the festive season helping terminally ill people and their families celebrate together.

“Christmas Day is a working day at the hospice, so we’ve got a full team in – nurses, doctors, cleaning staff and of course the catering team who will be making Christmas dinner for all. The nurses always ensure there is a present for each of our patients when they wake up on Christmas morning. Christmas lunch is served to our day service patients and our staff in the week leading up to Christmas and we have the Lights to Remember service each year on the first Sunday of December when we turn on our Christmas tree lights.” Liz Cottier, Hospice Manager, Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands

“We try to support families as much as possible by encouraging them to spend as much time as they want with their loved ones, day and night. We decorate patients’ rooms and one patient I remember had her own table set up with lots of goodies on, so when her family came in they could help themselves. All her family used to visit her at home on Christmas Day and, as she was unable to be at home, they all came to her.” Lorraine Howard, Ward Sister, Marie Curie Hospice, Liverpool

“We invite carol singers to the hospice for patients. Last year we had staff members joining in to sing carols in the wards. If patients want to go home for the day, we facilitate this with their family members and ensure they have an adequate supply of medicines for the day. "For those unable to get home, families are invited to come and spend time with patients in the Hospice and are invited to join them for Christmas dinner.” Anne Masterton, Nurse Manager, Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh

“On Christmas Day, all patients get Christmas dinner – their family members can join them too. We have volunteers who come in to help us serve dinner. We’ve even made Christmas come early for a family when we knew the patient would not survive the few days until Christmas.” Elaine Hill, Hospice Manager, Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford

As the countdown to the festive season continues, we are sharing with you the many things that make up a #MarieCurieChristmas and would love for you to share your #MarieCurieChristmas stories with us on Twitter and Facebook.