Just two years ago my very dear mother-in-law Pam was diagnosed with a terminal illness and only a short time to live. She was a very independent 91 year old who lived on her own in Beadnell, and was totally in command of her faculties as well as everyone else’s. As soon as we were given this news, I knew we were going to need support from the Hospice to be able to look after Pam at home in the way she very much wanted. Specifically, the family would need help at night times so that we would have the mental and physical stamina to cope with Pam’s day-time care and enjoy the precious time we had left.
The very mention of the word Hospice worried other family members who had no idea at all or any experience of end-of-life issues. I phoned the Hospice in Alnwick and explained our situation. Although we did not want them immediately, I was sure we should in a few days’ time. Nina, a Hospice nurse, came to meet Pam at home. This visit was to get to know her, to talk to her about what she was feeling and how she would prefer to be treated. Nina was also there to ask the family how we were coping and what help we needed.
By now Social Services had provided a hospital bed for Pam’s living room and everything else she would need. She was very much where she wanted to be and we were confident with the help from the Hospice we would manage together. Only three days later it was apparent that Hospice care was now needed and I phoned Sue at Alnwick to confirm our request for support that same night. Help was immediate and Linda, another nurse from the Hospice, was with us by early evening.
Exhausted already, we could now find time to eat together and hopefully sleep while still being close to Pam, confident she was in capable hands. Linda looked after all Pam’s needs including her medication, while we were still closely involved in all decisions. We did manage that good night’s sleep, and took over as the nurse left the following morning. The situation was repeated that next evening. In the early hours of the morning Pam died, peacefully, surrounded by her family and with Ruby, her ever-faithful terrier on the bed, exactly the way Pam had wanted. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful support from the Hospice
What happened next is rather blurred but so important. While we grieved together Linda quietly, gently and very discreetly looked after all those things which have to happen including making us all that much-needed cup of tea. She made sure we were all coping OK and then left.
Words cannot fully describe how much this support meant to us, and still does. HospiceCare support in the home is so important. It is invaluable and for it to continue, we need all need to dig deep and donate what we can. Every penny counts.” Judi. March 2018