Sometimes getting support for our loved ones can prove more trying and time consuming than anyone would wish. Bev Tune remembers the GP visits, social worker phone calls and council appraisals from when her sister Sharon sought care provision for their mother Jean. Based in Southbourne, this proved a grey area of the Hampshire and West Sussex NHS borders when it came to different types of symptom support.
The doctor suspected Cancer as Jean became unwell very quickly the paracetamol she had been using to manage her symptomatic pain soon proved not up to the task. It was a district nurse from Hayling Island who eventually referred the family to St Wilfrid’s Hospice. Within just a few hours of setting this up, two St Wilfrid’s Hospice nurses from the Hospice at Home team turned up at the door.
“From the first meeting we knew St Wilfrid's got it - it was a breath of fresh air from before, they really cared about our Mum’s dignity and quality of life. They were our angels in disguise”.
With the admin done the next day, the team put together a tailored support plan with Jean’s well-being in mind. In those final days they dry shampooed her hair, changed sheets, dressed her and propped up Jean’s pillows so she could rest more comfortably. "Time was never an issue with the nurses, they told us that they would spend as much time caring for Jean as was required" Sharon remembers. Having just the one night time support in place meant Bev and her sisters could get some much needed respite downstairs to relieve the pressure of their own constant care for their mum.
“Having St Wilfrid’s those last two days made all the difference" Bev said. "We can actually remember our last shared laugh with Mum - with us riding the stair lift up and down sharing and spilling cups of tea on the way up and down, with mum listening in from her bedroom. It’s those simple little moments that take you back and you can cherish ever afterward.
As sad a time as it was, Mum looked herself more than she had done in the past year; she faced the end without fear.”
When Jean died, St Wilfrid’s offered grievance support and a friendly sounding board for the funeral arrangements.
Bev’s family were one of many families who had thought hospice provision was only available for cancer support, hence why they hadn’t thought to contact St Wilfrid’s sooner. In fact over a quarter of the patients St Wilfrid’s Hospice supports have illnesses and conditions unrelated to cancer.
The St Wilfrid’s Hospice at Home team make over 3500 home calls every year, and saw 741 new patients in 2017, including Jean. For referral guidelines please see stwh.co.uk/our-care/referrals/
We want to help each and every one of our patients, and their loved ones, to make the most of every day. But we can’t do any of this without the generosity of people like you! You can help us make a difference by sponsoring a nurse at stwh.co.uk/support-us/sponsor-a-nurse