Casualty star goes behind the scenes at her local hospice
- Credit: Isabel Hospice
A star of BBC medical drama Casualty was guest of honour at Isabel Hospice this week.
Olivia D’Lima, who played paramedic Fenisha Khatri until her character's death last month, says her fear of death and dying has been reduced after visiting the hospice's in-patient unit.
Olivia said: “I definitely have a big fear of death, which I think a lot of people do, and I’m less scared now, which is huge.
"I‘ve sort of learned that it’s a time to enjoy your life being here, people will bring you up, you’ll meet new people, they will give you a more positive outlook on life if you didn’t have one already and you couldn’t want for anything here. It’s just incredible.”
The Hertfordshire-based actor and writer visited Isabel Hospice on Friday with her mum Debbie, who is a manager at one of the charity’s high street shops after volunteering for many years.
Olivia revealed that her grandmother was in a hospice at the end of her life but didn’t know too much about the support patients and families receive through Isabel Hospice, but was so pleased to see how “joyous” and “energetic” hospice life is after spending time with staff and patients at the charity.
The TV star spent several hours in the unit on Friday evening, meeting patients, staff and volunteers and said she’s learnt it’s a time to enjoy life.
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Olivia met senior nurse Angie Pymm, formerly a stage actor, who has worked at the hospice for four years, describing her role as a “privilege to care for our patients”.
Angie joked that the transition from acting to nursing was difficult: “After I completed my first shift, it was a very long day, and I was expecting a round of applause!”
But Angie, who starred in theatrical productions including Little Voice and Woman of Men, revealed she often sings to patients and that’s not the only skills she has transferred from her acting days.
She explains: “The days are very, very different but actually the roles sit together really well because acting is all about communication and a large part of nursing is all about communication as well.
"So, I'm so glad I had the acting training and the confidence to go forward and communicate with patients because obviously we have difficult conversations on a regular basis so my communication skills from my previous career are very helpful.”
Olivia’s highlight was the visit with newly retired primary school headteacher, Shirley Whales from Braughing.
She added: “Shirley is such a bubbly person, and the love that she had for the hospice was incredible, it was just so emotional to see how these people in such a short space of time have already touched her heart, and just the amazing experience she’s having.”
Olivia added that her work on BBC medical drama Casualty, playing the part of a paramedic aided her visit.
She explained: “Working with medical advisors has helped. And coming here, I felt I had that connection more so after playing a paramedic, I can understand a lot more, the bedside manner, and how you can form a connection with a patient in no time at all.”
Olivia made her debut in Casualty in 2020, starring in 36 episodes before making her final appearance in August's epic season finale. Her character was killed off on her wedding day after becoming trapped in a vehicle on train tracks.
Isabel Hospice has been providing free palliative care to its patients and their families since 1982. We provide support and care to people in eastern Hertfordshire who are affected by life-limiting illnesses through our Hospice at Home, In-Patient Unit, Community Team, Living Well with Isabel programme and our Family and Bereavement support service.