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How hospice care changed my life

Never in her wildest dreams did she ever think she would go from someone who felt useless to now start planning a life again, the same person who could hardly eat anything, to now enjoying three meals a day!

Ingrid Berning (70) from Alberton is a shining example of how dramatically hospice care can improve the quality of a cancer patient’s life.

“I absolutely resisted hospice care. To be honest, I was terrified of hospice, I honestly believed that you go to hospice to die,” Ingrid explains from her bed in the Stepping Stone Hospice’s In-Patient unit in Alberton.

Ingrid was first diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in September last year. After undergoing treatment, which included 55 radiation sessions, she was sent home. She stayed in a granny flat on her son’s property in Alberton.

“I became very ill at home, couldn’t take care of myself anymore. Sister Christa du Toit from Stepping Stone Hospice started paying me a visit, but I refused to co-operate with her,” she now smilingly admits. “I’m just so grateful that she persevered with me.”

Sister Du Toit says that she refused to give up on Ingrid. “She desperately needed hospice care and I eventually persuaded her to be admitted as an In-Patient.”

Ingrid now only has the highest praise for Stepping Stone Hospice and their staff. “They treat me with so much respect and I can feel the love with which they execute their duties. There is nothing false about them. I don’t just eat proper meals now, but they even got me walking around a bit now.”

And the best news of all, Ingrid was well enough to be discharged the day after this interview. She went to a frail care facility. “To be honest, I almost feel like I would rather stay here,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. “These people are nursing angels and I can just count my lucky stars that I eventually came into their care.”

Sister Christa du Toit here with Ingrid Berning. Ingrid was admitted to the In-Patient Unit to get her symptoms under control.