Patients, family and supporters share their experiences of our care and their support
21 December 2014
Jennifer is a wonderful ambassador for the charity and recently, very bravely, shared her experience of the care available for her husband Jonny with over 1,100 guests at the Festival of Carols event hosted at Ely Cathedral.
Jennifer shares her touching story and the loss of her husband, Jonny, below:
Whilst Jonny was receiving
care at Arthur Rank Hospice, I learnt so much about what the hospice does and
was blown away by their input and particularly in the ways they give support to
patients and their family. I never knew how many different
departments needed to operate to make one night in the hospice bearable
for my husband and myself.
I was and still am in awe
how their team will work out of hours and attend many different events
and meetings, not just because the job requires it but also because they
are passionate about delivering excellent care. I have seen first-hand how it
can change peoples lives.
Losing your husband is so
very difficult, and I found myself in a situation where I needed to be there
for my husband whilst also caring for our little baby. Jonny passed away just
four days before our son’s first birthday. It was so comforting to have the
support and care offered by the hospice. The staff helped me to deal with the
grief and my loss on many levels. It truly did, and has made life more bearable
and that is something I will eternally be grateful for.
Sadly we will all almost
certainly be touched by illness in our lives one way or another but it is not
until you are in this situation that you can really understand the frustration,
anger, love, warmth and sadness which you will feel. The hospice provides the
patient and their family with the kind of care and support which is so
important when it is most crucial.
Jonny was just 31 when he
sadly passed away so it is not just old people, who are cared for at the
hospice. The hospice cares for people with cancer but with other life limited illnesses
too. We chose for Jonny to be cared for at the hospice but we also had the
option of Hospice at Home. Patients have a choice where to be nursed and not
just in the last days either. The hospice has a fantastic day therapy centre
that can help people who may have many years left to live yet, but just need a
distraction or to talk to another person who can understand, offer support and
provide family members a much needed and deserved day off. The team at the hospice offer advice, support,
counselling, palliative and pastoral care and much more...
When I think back to the
time we spent in the hospice, I have one particular fond memory. I recall the
nurses who giving my father in law and I a bottle of wine late one
evening. We wanted to be close to Jonny and we chatted in the hope that
Jonny could hear us, hear familiar voices and feel comforted.
I remember how each evening a nurse would help me wheel a spare
bed into Jonnys room so that I could be comfortable and sleep next to him. The
nurses cared for Jonny with dignity helping me wash and attend to Jonny whilst
we continue to talk to him even though he was slipping away.
I recall the volunteers coming in for a chat and making sure I
drank and ate, whilst it was the last thing on my mind, it was wonderful to
have these people around me.
I remember the patience and cooperation of the doctors when I
challenged what we could do for Jonny even though he had days left to live and
most poignantly, I remember everyone making a fuss of our little baby boy so
that I had a moment of sanity and normality.
They gave my husband and my family dignity, compassion, care,
support, understanding, a listening ear, medical advice and the truth. They
gave everything the patient or the family members need to deal with the last
stages of life.
The care end there though. After Jonny had passed away, the staff
ensured that I was giving great mental and physical support. I truly dont know
how I would have coped without my counsellor (a volunteer may I add) and the
wonderful homeopathic care I received which helped me to start my journey
through the grieving/healing process. It was a true life saver.
Most of us would not have had any experience with dealing with a
hospice and the first thought that generally come to mind is a place where you
die. It could be deemed quite a sad and depressing place which probably makes
you want to run a mile! So when we sadly found ourselves, at a relatively young
age, being taken into the hospice it was a great surprise that it was 100% the
opposite to what I had thought it would be.
Probably my biggest surprise was the fact that my husband was
still treated like a human being, was cared for and that myself and the family
was supported so much. They actually cared how Jonny was doing. They treated
him with dignity, understood our needs, were human in their approach and generally
made the best of the worst situation we could have ever imagined to find ourselves in.
"They basically just looked after her minute by minute for those final two nights. It was incredible. [...] It was very much as if we were being cared for as a couple.” Michael Barnes' wife Svitlana received care from our Hospice at Home team in February 2019. ... click for more
“Having special time together with Sam in those last few weeks as a wife, but also as a Mum - and for him being able to be a Dad – was really important. Hospice at Home allowed us to be family together, the four of us, at the end.” Xanthe’s husband Sam received care from our Hospice at Home team in 2018. ... click for more
Angela McGrath, Mum of Daniel shares her story and inspiration for walking to Liverpool in memory of her son ... click for more
“I felt like somebody who belonged there and was part of the family”. Kirsty Bradbrook tells us about her husband Mike’s care at Arthur Rank Hospice at the start of 2017... click for more
Jennifer Cater shares her story of the loss of her beautiful daughter Debra Jane Hodgson... click for more
We had the pleasure of chatting to Claire, who has taken part in Bridge the Gap walk since its first year in 2001 as part of the well known group, the ‘Sunflower Girls’.... click for more
Sally shares her touching and powerful story of her family and their relationship with the Hospice... click for more
I will never forget the moment that my husband Hugh broke the news that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The thoughts and emotions that explode in those few seconds are indescribable. The enormity of the implications, the effect ... click for more
Brenda & Stuart Evans reflect on Bridge the Gap
A couple who have ‘Bridged the Gap’ for many years.... click for more
Brenda & Stuart Evans reflect on Bridge the Gap
Kevin very kindly met with Donna Talbot in August this year and shared his touching story of the loss of Mary, his wife.... click for more
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