We Make Christmas a Special Day Ward Sister Elena Costin has worked for Martlets for more than ten years. Here she talks about why the hospice is such an important charity for the local community. Most people have some experience of terminal illness or a long-term condition; maybe themselves or a member of their family or a friend. We are here at probably the worst time in their lives, providing whatever support is needed to the whole family. I’m proud to be working for Martlets; it makes me feel like I’m making a difference. It could be something that might seem so small, like taking a sip of tea, but for someone whose disease makes it hard to drink it means so much. Our care is holistic, so we respect people’s choices and help them to maintain their independence as much as they can. Everyone is treated with dignity and respect; it’s all about caring for people as we would want ourselves or our families to be cared for. So whatever someone’s cultural or religious beliefs, their daily routines or whatever it is that makes them who they are – we do everything we can to maintain that. No two people are the same and nor is the care that they need; it’s tailored to the individual. There’s a real community feel at Martlets, the patients enjoy a bit of banter and a chat and we develop quite a strong relationship with them and their families. I would say that our care is as much for the loved ones as it is for the patients themselves; we’re there to guide them through a very difficult time. Sometimes, when you know the family has not slept for days, they just need the permission to take a break. On Christmas Day we all dress up, I’m usually an elf, and we take the patients their Christmas lunch on beautifully decorated trays. After lunch, Santa arrives with presents for everyone and we all sing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’; we try to celebrate as we would at home and make it a special day. We are an important charity for the community of Brighton & Hove and we know that you feel that too. Please do consider giving one extra gift this Christmas, since it will help us in providing hospice care to local families when they need us the most.