My mother-in-law (mum) spent approximately 10 days at St Luke's Hospice. She loved the doctors and nurses. From the first day she came in they knew what mum liked and how to make her comfortable. She felt like she was being cared for by her own family and not just doctors and nurses. She interacted with them well and although she didn’t speak much English, she was still able to explain what she wanted and the staff understood. They always left her with a smile on her face.
She didn't feel as if she was stuck in a hospital
I think mum loved the fact that the staff were so polite and the hospice was so homely. She didn’t feel like she was stuck in a hospital. For us this was really reassuring that we had made the correct decision for mum to be treated at the Hospice rather than at home. When she needed someone, whether it was for another dose of pain killers or just some ice-cream, she would get attended to more or less straight away. If she said to the doctor that she had problems swallowing, they would immediately offer something which would relieve this. The hospice was also very accommodating with her dietary needs.
A few days after mum arrived, she kept asking me when I was going to take her to Kenton Temple which she visited quite often. I spoke to the staff and they immediately started to make arrangements such as getting a wheelchair. I took mum and she loved it. There wasn’t a point where she asked for something and she didn’t get it. She was kept comfortable and out of pain at all times, this is what made her happy.
St Luke's supported the whole family
Mum was the sort of person who loved having visitors and at no point in the day did she stop having visits from us, her friends or relatives. She felt her room was so friendly and home-like. She loved the garden view and the squirrels that ran around outside her window kept her busy. She liked that she had her own TV so she could watch her favourite movies at her own time, just like how she did at home.
Honestly speaking, the support that Mum and our family was given cannot be described in words. St Luke’s has become a part of our family, that is how much they have done for us. We were supported by St Luke’s for approximately a year before mum came to the In-Patient Unit, during her stay at the hospice and even after mum passed away. I often received phone calls to see how mum was getting on and whether any of us needed any help, support or just a friendly voice to talk to. Without such support we would not have been able to be as strong in making mum so happy in her final days and fulfilling all of her wishes.
Caring for mum in her own home
Mum’s final wish was to be at home.The day before we bought her there she was very poorly so we knew she didn’t have too long to go. Lucky for us, we got mum home in time; she knew where she was. Even at home, the Hospice at Home team came straight away to make sure mum was comfortable. Unfortunately she did not stay with us very long and passed away only a couple of hours after arriving. This was 12 days before her 55th birthday. The two lovely nurses also came to our house the day after to pass on their condolences and support.
Giving something back to St Luke's
We felt that it was our duty to give something back to the Hospice so that they can continue the amazing work that they are doing. My husband did the St Luke’s Skydive in April and managed to raise over £5500. My sister in-law, a few of our cousins and friends and I did the Midnight Walk and managed to raise over £1500. We also sent a lot of mum’s belongings to St Luke’s shop.