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COMMENT: Jersey Hospice Care is a credit to the Island

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THERE are times in everyone's life when they are challenged by monumental events. Those times may be made easier, or harder, by society at large. I went through such a time myself recently – and benefited from three beautiful institutions. The Jersey Islamic Trust, particularly Dr Sarfraz Jamali, Pitcher & Le Quesne Funeral Directors and the General Hospital, are three such wonderful pillars of the Jersey community, and should be recognised as such. A fourth is Jersey Hospice Care.

It is a sad reality that those who suffer from life-limiting conditions cannot always expect a top standard of care. My work in international affairs means that I travel an inordinate amount, and I have seen various types of palliative care in different parts of the world. Far too often what is on offer is truly sub-standard. I know of shocking cases where people, whose lives could have been spent in dignity and who could have been treated with kindness, were left uncared for, to pass away in difficult and awkward circumstances – at home, with no help, or on hospital beds with no attention.

But the people of Jersey have another option rather than facing such deleterious possibilities. I know of it first hand. My mother, God bless her, Laila Mohammed Gamil El-Zoubeir of Cairo, Egypt, loved this Island so very much – and she wanted a holiday here after having gone through treatment for her illness. I thought I would be bringing her back, but, as it is said in 'the Book' as she called it: 'They plan, and God plans: and God is the best of planners.' (Qur'an, Chapter of the Bounties).

A few days into her trip, my mother was rushed to the emergency ward. The doctors then suggested travel would not be advisable, and recommended transfer to Jersey Hospice Care.

I cannot compliment and commend this fine Jersey institution enough. It is remarkable, and the incredible nature of it is down to the kindness and professionalism of the dedicated staff – from the executive director, to the nurses, to the helpers and domestic staff. My mother constantly sang their praises – and I was witness to compassion of the most incredible kind.

But it mustn't be taken for granted. It is an institution that deserves assistance, backing and support. I do hope all readers will take that seriously. Jersey Hospice Care is a testament to the best of what Jersey is – and I for one will never forget how wonderful it was to my family.

*Dr H A Hellyer is senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC and the Royal United Services Institute in London. Find him on Twitter: @hahellyer.

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