Hearts Together Hospital Hotel, helped me greatly at a time when I was far from home.

We have lived for over 50 years in Pembury Kent. When we retired we joined our local U3A. Since then we have enjoyed many holidays and outings with them. This year a trip to Spain was very appealing. We were to travel by coach and ferry to and from our hotel in Spain. Sadly, on the journey home, and on the overnight ferry, my husband felt poorly and had a heart attack. He had 6 months earlier been fitted with a device that had its own defibrillator and this kicked in to save his life. I summoned help and the medics on Brittany Ferries were marvellous, took care of him and organised an ambulance to take him to hospital once we had docked. In the meantime, our coach went home taking our luggage with it, but I knew it would be taken care of. Once docked, an ambulance took us to Derriford. I stayed with my husband in A&E while they assessed him. When I realised he was going to be admitted I began to make phone calls to family, and neighbours.

My next worry was that I was in a place unknown to me and I needed to find somewhere to stay. A lady at the reception desk provided details of hotels that were nearby but recommended Hearts Together as being the nicest. She said she would ring them but it was now 4 pm and they were closed. I said I would walk there, which I did getting a little lost on the way, when I arrived, the entrance was locked and I saw that I could not gain access without a passkey. What was I to do now? I stood there feeling hopeless and bereft. Suddenly the door opened and a kind voice asked if she could help. She was working late and could indeed give me a room.

Now I could return to the hospital knowing I had somewhere to sleep that night. I stayed at the hospital till 7 pm when my husband said I should leave. I collected some food from M&S and walked back to Hearts Together. I enjoyed the complimentary coffee at Hearts Together before I retired to bed.

I was so grateful to be in a lovely hotel near enough to walk to the hospital. I sat with my husband each day during visiting hours and he felt better for having me around and it was certainly too far for friends or family to visit.

I had no idea how long they would keep Mike in for and it turned out to be six nights. I was lucky that Hearts Together were able to accommodate me for the rest of that time. The weather was warm and it was a treat to begin my day having breakfast on the terrace with views of trees in blossom. I would also end my day, similarly, enjoying my evening meal on the terrace. This helped me get through the long days in the hospital. I talked briefly to other people who were staying in the hotel and all their own relatable health-related problems. One gentleman asked ‘Have you seen the deer?’ after this I looked out for the deer and saw them on two or three evenings, once drinking water from a bowl of water below the terrace. Such magnificent creatures. On my last morning, after I had checked out, a lady on reception offered me transport. I had seen a sign that transport was available but had not troubled till now. I had my overnight bag, from the ferry, to carry so I accepted this kind offer. I was offered counselling during my stay, which I did not feel I needed, but I can imagine it would be welcome by a lot of people. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast and the complimentary tea and coffee.

I would recommend Hearts Together as being a home-from-home, near the hospital.