Melanie Taylor and family

“The nurses spoke to, rather than at or about, Mum and they cared for her as if she was a member of their own family.”

Melanie Taylor, owner of a HR Consultancy business, has chosen to share her experience of the care that her Mum, Maureen Dennis, received from St Barnabas Hospice.

Maureen was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2017 and sadly died at home on 3rd February 2018, age 82. Melanie said:

“Mum and Dad were both really upbeat about Mum’s diagnosis, saying that there was a lot of support available.

“Mum had opted not to have treatment for her cancer as she had seen friends undergo treatment which had significantly impacted on their quality of life. She wanted to carry on as normal and receive palliative care to ensure that she wasn’t in pain. This brave decision allowed us to have more quality time together without the focus of hospital visits and treatment regimes.”

After Maureen’s decision not to have treatment, she was referred to St Barnabas Hospice to discuss the support they could provide. Melanie said:

“Mum wanted to die in her own home, so my sisters and I supported my dad to care for her there. In the last few weeks of her life, the Hospice at Home team visited regularly to support us as a family. They helped with personal care, allowing Mum more dignity than having to be washed by her children or husband, and this allowed us to revert back to being family, rather than carers.

“The care received from St Barnabas was fantastic. The Hospice at Home nurses were always cheerful and respectful. They spoke to, rather than at or about, Mum and they cared for her as if she was a member of their own family. They read the mood of the house and then supported us accordingly – whether that was to have a bit of a laugh or to console us during a tearful moment.”

Two weeks before Maureen died, she celebrated her 82nd birthday with a traditional party tea like the ones she used to make for Melanie and her sisters when they were children. Maureen’s brother also came to visit and they were able to spend quality time together as a family. Melanie said:

“I remember one of the nurses asking us to make sure we’d left Mum’s perfume out so that they could put some on after she’d been washed. Their level of compassion, going beyond the basics, really touched our family.

“It would be easy to think that caring for someone at the end of their life is morbid or difficult. Whilst I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have tough moments, I also remember lots of happy times when we were able to spent time with Mum.

“Because we were at home, Mum was surrounded by everything familiar, even down to photo albums that we could get out and look through with her. It was a sad time, but also a very special time.”

St Barnabas Hospice provides free care to people across Lincolnshire living with a life-limiting or terminal illness and their families and carers. To find out more about the different ways we can help, visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk

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