Having been diagnosed with Stage 3, advanced and aggressive Prostate Cancer in 2019, my world was one heap of confusion. However, the treatment and support given by my Oncologist and supporting staff were second to none. Options of treatment were laid out to me, however, some were not available, due to the advanced stage of the cancer and those that were undertaken unfortunately left me with Radiological Proctitis (RP).

The treatment for the RP, initially had very little impact and it was suggested by my Oncologist that we try Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Naturally, I agreed to this, however, in my naivety I had assumed this would be delivered at a local facility to me.  Imagine my surprise when one of the medical staff at the DDRC, based in Plymouth invited me to the centre for assessment and potential treatment over the following eight weeks. My surprise was further exacerbated when having undertaken the suitability assessment, I was offered to start treatment the following day. My initial thought was that I needed somewhere to stay, but I need not have worried as DDRC, who work collaboratively with Hearts Together, had arranged accommodation for me at Hearts Together Hospital Hotel, known affectionately as The Lodge.

My welcome and introduction to Hearts Together Hospital Hotel was friendly, professional and reassuring, bearing in mind I was full of trepidation about what my treatment may bring. 

My room and available facilities were amazing and all that I needed.  All staff were approachable, and nothing was too much trouble for them. Catering, laundry, transport to and from treatment and counselling services were all offered and available to me. The staff were so able to multitask, and it was no surprise to see senior staff undertaking a cross-section of roles such as cleaning and laundry. Alongside these excellent facilities was also the opportunity to meet other residents, patients and carers/families, with similar issues and discuss these in a safe environment. My treatment was daily at DDRC and again the service delivery was excellent yet very tiring, you would think that having received three 30-minute bursts of 100% Oxygen I'd be full of energy but not in my case. Yet this was not a problem as I was just a five-minute walk from the hotel where I could relax and recharge my batteries within a stress-free, supportive and therapeutic environment.

Unfortunately, I had to repeat the treatment 12 months later and yet again I was able to stay at Hearts Together Hospital Hotel. The non-discriminatory, person-centred treatment I received there was again fantastic.  There had been some changes to the layout in the lounge area which only improved the environment. It was not all for the better though as there were no small pots of Marmite (other products are available), at the breakfast offerings on my second visit!

I cannot extol enough the virtues of the Hearts Together 'Friendly' Hospital Hotel to patients, family and carers who are able to access this amazing resource, in the utmost stressful and anxious of situations, I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of the staff at Hearts Together and at DDRC, and commend the work, service and provision provided by both charities throughout. Thank you.

Who are DDRC? 

DDRC Healthcare is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered UK charity based at Plymouth Science Park in Plymouth. They are worldwide specialists in diving medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and medical training and have an enviable range of highly specialised staff, facilities and knowledge. DDRC delivers 24/7 diving and hyperbaric medical emergency services, diver health research and education activities, hosts the British Hyperbaric Association helpline, produces diver safety materials, presentations, courses and events and funds medical equipment to support diver treatment plans. Whilst they are best known for treating divers with Decompression Illness (DCI) or ‘the bends’, divers only account for around one-third of their patients, as they also use Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) therapy to treat an array of other conditions where it has been internationally agreed that the use of HBO is effective. 

DDRC and Hearts Together have been working together for many years to help support and accommodate patients receiving treatment often over extended periods of time. Located just a stone's throw away from DDRC, Hearts Together Hospital Hotel is ideally situated to provide this support for outpatients, with the additional facilities to ensure that their stay away from home due to ill health is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.