13 / May / 2019

Dying Well Matters

Dying Well Matters image

This week is Dying Matters week, and Hospice in the Weald’s strapline makes their position on Dying Matters clear: celebrating life, dignifying death. Avril’s husband Simon was cared for by the Hospice in the Home team, and then on the In-Patient Ward, in late 2017. He died on the In-Patient Ward in January 2018.

“Dying Well is different to each person – and the Hospice knows that. They care for each person as an individual. But there are some things that are important to most patients and their families.

The first of these is communication. Whatever handover process the Ward team has, it really works. When Simon was in hospital I was always explaining what was happening to the next member of staff. You’d be asked the same questions again and again. When Simon was first on the Ward I kept trying to do the same thing. But after a few times, it became clear that all of the staff and volunteers knew what was going on. I didn’t have to have that responsibility.

Another thing is how they care for the whole family, not just the patient. From the doctors to the hospitality team – even if they are cleaning your room or just bringing you a cup of tea, they know how you are and they just care.

I could be close to Simon when he was really unwell. When he was in Hospital I felt like a nuisance, like I was in the way of the nurses trying to do their job. But on the Ward I could stay, and I was welcome.

Meeting patients wishes is important to the Hospice too. Simon was cared for on the In-Patient Ward over the winter time, before Christmas and we brought decorations in and made it our own. Patients and family members can do so many different things.

I still carry Simon everywhere with me – his photo is the page turner in my diary. It makes me incredibly sad to see that photo, but it also makes me smile.

I cannot imagine how it would have been if the Hospice hadn’t been there for us. It’s still hard now, after Simon’s death, but without the Hospice, it would be so worse.”