Caring for People in Harrow & Brent

Michelle made it to her son’s wedding

Michelle was very sadly diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2011. After her hospital treatment stopped she was admitted to our Inpatient Unit this summer. Michelle shared, “There’s just nothing else the hospital can do now. The cancer has spread. It’s inoperable and untreatable and the symptoms were becoming unmanageable”. Sadly, she passed away a few weeks later at home, as she wished. During her time at St Luke’s, she shared more about her story.

Michelle was referred to the palliative care team at St Luke’s but was initially resistant. “I thought we could just manage at home and that’s where I wanted to be but I was advised that a short stay here would help me to get on top of my symptoms”. Michelle told us that the Hospice’s medical response has been extraordinary, “You’ve got specialist doctors, nurses and other staff who know exactly what needs to be done and when, so I am in very good hands. I feel I am being looked after extremely well and so do my family. I’ve had carers who come in at home but being in the Hospice gives my family a break. It’s nice for them to know I’m being looked after well and it’s a massive source of comfort and relief for everyone.”

“I would not have been able to go to my son’s wedding without the Hospice. I was just not in a fit state. My son has had his wedding plans turned upside down. They brought it forward. They cancelled the party, they cancelled their honeymoon in case they had to come back. Should they go? Should they not go? Just the fact that I could go to the wedding was so special. My son really wanted that.” “When one of the nurses saw my dress she went searching for a matching bag to carry my syringe driver. Isn’t that just beautiful? What a lovely, kind and caring person. That was a real moment for me. I was just delighted to be able to go. The wedding was at Old Marylebone Town Hall which was wonderful. I loved every second of it.

To see him get married was one of the happiest days of my life”. Medically they ensured that I could sit upright and didn’t give me drugs that would make me sleepy. They controlled as many symptoms as they could before the wedding so that I wouldn’t spend the entire time in the toilet because of my stomach issues. Medical decisions made it possible for me to be there.

“The first thing I noticed about the Hospice was that wonderfully warm reception you get when you arrive. You almost feel as though you are being hugged! You are welcomed, wanted, listened to and treated with dignity. That was my first impression. The building and decor are lovely and the gardens are beautiful. One nurse went out and picked flowers and put them in a vase for me. It’s all calm – it’s beautifully done and I feel at peace, comfortable and soothed by the surroundings, by the water, by the people and by everything. You are listened to here. You are guided through and there is always someone by your side with whatever support you need. There is nothing not to like here.

I am so grateful that St Luke’s is here and that you work in the way you do. We all have different needs, emotional and clinical but you manage to hit that nail on the head each and every time.”

It costs just over £5,000 per week to provide specialist end of life care for one patient in our Inpatient Unit. Thanks to your support we can help patients like Michelle every week of the year.

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