Helen’s Story | The Hospice of St. Francis

Helen’s Story

“We had a call from the Hospice of St Francis palliative care team at the end of January"

Dad had pulmonary fibrosis and was living at home on his own. They said, ‘We’d like to arrange a visit.’ That was a big shock. I’d thought a hospice was a building you went to, doom and gloom. They explained that it doesn’t mean it’s the end. His condition could be managed, and they could help make his life easier.

They came out in a couple of days to his house in Kings Langley. They focused on how to ease his pain, and showed us coping strategies. They organised for a physio to assess what he needed at home. They offered simple suggestions to make Dad’s life easier.

They came out in a couple of days to his house in Kings Langley. They focused on how to ease his pain, and showed us coping strategies. They organised for a physio to assess what he needed at home. They offered simple suggestions to make Dad’s life easier.

They also rang us regularly, speaking to me and my brother. One of the best things was how they asked what they could do for us. They were so lovely; it was a comfort. They cared about us.

Dad was feisty; he didn’t want to go anywhere. But he was more willing to agree to what the Hospice nurses suggested. They helped Dad get help and chased up his doctor. They got equipment for him at home and involved other agencies. They made Dad smile and laugh, talking to him about his life. They couldn’t do enough for everybody.

The day before Dad went to a care home for respite, the Hospice team came out to spruce Dad up with a shave and a haircut. They made him look glamorous. In the care home, Dad deteriorated, but the Hospice team visited him there. They made him comfortable, chased up oxygen and medicine for him. On the day that he passed, they helped him to relax.

Afterwards they rang to see how we were and offered ongoing support. They don’t just help the patient. They help the family.

Helen with her dad and her brother

My brother decided to do the Mud Pack Challenge in Dad’s memory, and I thought ‘Why not?’. I’m going to do it with my eldest daughter, my husband, brother and three friends. It looks fantastic. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody else doing it who is in the same boat. It’s a nice way of raising money and remembering my Dad, Brian Swann.”

If you’d like to contribute to Helen’s fundraiser, please visit her Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/page/helen-hards-1692368205598