Hospice at Home gave Annie her final wish
A new St Catherine’s Hospice service is enabling people to leave hospital earlier and achieve their wishes to spend their final days at home.
Debbie King, from Walmer Bridge, has spoken about how the Hospice At Home team made all the difference to her beloved mum Annie Robinson, and how grateful the family is for the support they were given at such a difficult time.
Annie was in hospital for around a month with a number of health problems in December 2022, and wanted to return home to spend her final days peacefully and surrounded by her loved ones.
“When St Catherine’s was mentioned to us, we just felt reassured straight away,” Debbie recalled. “We knew Mum would be in the best hands and we could trust she was receiving the best possible care.
“St Catherine’s supported her to come out of hospital and provided hands-on personal care for Mum at home for just over a week, whilst an end-of-life care plan was put in place. The nurses who came were so professional, kind and gentle. We are so thankful to them.
“They really gave us time to talk about our mum’s needs and wishes. They sorted out her medication so she wasn’t in pain, and really reassured us as a family that she was being so well taken care of.”
Funding has been awarded by NHS Charities Together to launch the St Catherine’s Hospice At Home pilot project, which is enhancing the provision of the charity’s specialist palliative and end-of-life care in the local community.
The scheme supports discharges from hospital, and the service’s Home Nursing Assistants work with patients and families to make people comfortable at home and experience quality of life to the end of life – like 83-year-old Annie.
Debbie said: “Mum had always been so independent so she didn’t want to be in hospital or a care home. I was caring for her at home with my sister Bev Crossland and brother David Robinson, but I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without St Catherine’s giving us that extra help.
“It was an emotional time, and it’s incredibly difficult caring for a parent; even though we had each other you can feel quite alone and not quite sure if you’re always doing the right thing for your parent. So I can’t thank St Catherine’s enough for what they did for us; even things like giving us the space to go home for a few hours knowing Mum was in good hands. It made all the difference.”
She added: “We’re very familiar with St Catherine’s and we’ve done some fundraising for the charity. My sister and I are planning to do the Moonlight and Memories Walk this summer in honour of our mum.
“Their new Hospice at Home service is much-needed and so worthwhile; it was a God-send to us and I can’t praise them enough.”
St Catherine’s is also investing in the 18-month pilot project alongside the grant funding, spearheading the service in collaboration with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
The charity also provides palliative and end-of-life care in the community through the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team, and offers round-the-clock care to patients at the hospice, as well as emotional and bereavement support to carers and families.
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