She wrote this piece to explain how the hospice in the home team, like rapid response clinical nurse specialist Richard (pictured) supported the family at their home in the Tendring area.
We met in March 1986, married in 1964 and moved to the Tendring area. We were together for 60 years almost to the day. We were blessed with a son and a daughter and enjoyed a long and loving marriage. Life threw a few things at us, as it does to everyone, but we always worked together to get through life’s highs and lows. In time we were blessed with a granddaughter to whom A was devoted. They were really good pals from the day she was born and I am so grateful she filled the last years of his life with love, joy and laughter.
Many years ago A had a heart attack out of the blue but the miracle of modern medicine and technology kept him alive and reasonably fit until the last few years. Obviously age plays a part in declining health but the last 2-3 years became very worrying and I’m sure we visited every hospital department except maternity but nobody came up with any answers. It was not until three and half weeks before his life ended that we had a final diagnosis from the hospital. The consultant was very kind and gentle with us but it was clear also what the outcome was going to be. It seemed to take a few days before it became clear St Helena was going to be looking after us, as A had always said, thankfully, he wished to stay at home. I could not have stood aside and let strangers, as kind as they may be, to do all the caring side.
St Helena got in touch with us, explained how things work, and offered untold help and advice. Nothing was too much trouble and any requirements were dealt with immediately. I had known of people who had died in the hospice but I did not realise they also ran a complete service within the community. Any question we asked was immediately explained and dealt with. My daughter was invited to call any time with any questions she had concerning her father’s medical needs and care.
One of the most reassuring things for myself was the SinglePoint telephone service; one telephone number for any query and help was at hand immediately. You were never fobbed off or made to feel a nuisance. You know whoever answered the phone, help would be forthcoming. They supported us but didn’t take over control. We were involved in all his care.
We felt we were looking after him as he wanted and indeed as we wanted. We didn’t have to just hand him over to those who knew better than us. One day a nurse, Richard, sat for some time explaining and reassuring us. My daughter’s concern was if he was getting the same level of care at home as he would in the hospice or hospital, and Richard assured us that he was.
When my son had to phone in the middle of the night, the nurse came and looked after my husband and the said to us ‘if you need me anymore tonight, don’t be afraid to call again’.
When I finally slid into bed in the early hours of the morning. Little did I know this was the last night we would be together. When I awoke at 9am his body had lost the strength to fight anymore. Our dearest husband, father and grandad rested in peace.
Do not wait for a funeral to voice your feelings. Tell your loved one whilst the can see your smile, feel the gentle touch of your hand, and hear the love in your voice.
Even after his death the hospice guided us through the necessary procedures that follow. In the worst time of our lives we did not feel alone. Thank you to all at St Helena for supporting A and his family along the path. Thank you to all family and friends for continuing to support us. And thank you to A for his deep, unfailing love.
Ross Chirgwin is a rapid response clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and non-medical prescriber (NMP) in our SinglePoint team, who visits people at home across the whole of north east Essex when there is an urgent need or they are in crisis, day or night.View more
Anna is training to run the Chelmsford marathon proudly wearing a St Helena vest embellished with the name of her friend Mandy who is receiving treatment for cancer. Anna’s own condition, functional neurological disorder, makes it an extra personal challenge.View more
Josephine Gunnee made sure she grasped every opportunity, and being diagnosed with a rare cancer didn’t stop her from going out with friends and spending time with her familyView more
Charlotte was delighted when she was told her mum, Marina, was going to be moved to the hospice. Despite having never been to a hospice before, she knew her mum was going to be cared for in a relaxed and homely environmentView more
Before Covid hit in March, Nicky Cooper had worked in SinglePoint for five years. She had just started a nine-month developmental post to become a SinglePoint clinical nurse specialist (CNS) while she finished her prescribing module at the University of EssexView more
Christmas ended abruptly for Hazel Forster last year when her husband of 46 years was rushed to hospital after collapsing with a suspected stroke on Christmas Day.View more
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