Maureen Stonhill’s husband Des was cared for by The Hospice of St Francis’ Rapid Personalised Care Service in the last weeks of his life. It meant that, rather than endure an extended stay in hospital, he could be looked after in his own home, in line with this wishes.
The RPCS is a pilot scheme being run in partnership with the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice Care.
Here, Maureen - who was a volunteer flower arranger at the Hospice for 25 years until November 2017 – explains how the service supported her with Des’s care:
“Des was diagnosed with bowel cancer 18 months ago but he was already receiving care from the Hospice community nursing team for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which was causing him problems with his breathing.
“We started receiving the RPCS in October and I couldn’t have coped without it. Without the support from Helen (the RPCS coordinator) and her team, Des would not have been able to be at home for the last weeks of his life. He would have had to have been in hospital and he would have been upset about that.
“When he started to deteriorate, we went from twice weekly visits from the Hospice’s community nurses to visits three-times a day, morning, noon and night, which was a wonderful help.
“For the last few weeks of his life they would come in first thing in the morning and help Des to wash and dress and bring him into the living room. They would then come in at midday to see how he was getting on and help him back into bed if he wanted. Finally, they would come in the early evening to help him get ready for bed. It was a comfort to have that continuation of care.
“They were also a fantastic support for me and gave me a bit of time for myself. They would say ‘why don’t you go out for a bit, take some time for yourself and don’t rush back’. I would be able to go out and buy a paper and my fruit from the market knowing that Des was in good hands and that he was being looked after so I didn’t have to worry. He couldn’t have been better looked after if he was in a five star hotel.
“The last time Des went into hospital he walked in but he didn’t walk out because when he was there they didn’t do much to get him up and about. The Hospice nurses, however, would help him to get up and walk from the bedroom to the living room and they did this for as long as possible and that helped him to stay mobile. This was something I could never have done by myself because, at just over 6ft, he was a big man.
“He had the best of care right up until the end and what’s more, his wishes to die at home were met, which is a great comfort to me.”
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